January 19, 2011

CUA opens conference home schedule with pair of games

WASHINGTON - CUA finally gets to play a home conference game this weekend as the Cardinals welcome first place Scranton as well as Moravian to the DuFour Center Gymnasium.  The Cardinals split a pair of conference matchups last weekend, defeating defending champion Merchant Marine Academy before falling to Drew.

At 2-3 in Landmark play, CUA is locked in a four-way tie for fourth place in the conference standings.  The Cardinals continue to be led by their pair of senior standouts in Jason Banzhaf and R.J. Dixon, who rank second and sixth, respectively, in the conference in scoring.  Banzhaf also leads the Landmark in rebounding, while Dixon checks in at number-two in assists.

After playing four straight on the road, CUA returns home this weekend to the DuFour Center where it is 5-1 this season.  In those six home contests, the Cardinals are averaging 10.5 more points than their opponents, while boasting a +10.2 rebound margin.  CUA has held teams to 57.5 points on 39 percent shooting in those six games.

While CUA has done a nice job at the free throw line all season, the Cardinals have been especially effective in the final five minutes of games.  During that time CUA has made 82 of 99 free throws, good for 82 percent.  The Cardinals boast four shooters who are hitting above 85 percent in the final five minutes of games, led by Dixon at 94 percent.

The Cardinals are 10-2 this season when leading at halftime, but just 0-2 when trailing at the break.  CUA has outscored its opponents a combined 500-426 in the first half and have taken a lead into halftime in four of its six home games.  The Cardinals were tied in the other two.

The hottest team in the Landmark Conference, Scranton, enters this weekend on a roll, having won 10 straight, including all five of its conference games.  The Royals downed Juniata and Susquehanna last weekend at home to improve to 5-0 in the Landmark, but they will be on the road in their next four conference games.

Scranton leads the conference in scoring offense (78.4), scoring margin (11.6), free throw percentage (74.4) and three-point percentage (37.9) and features two of the top four scorers in the league in Zach Ashworth (19.4) and Luke Hawk (15.2).  CUA trails the all-time series with the Royals 22-13 and has not beaten them since January 17, 2009.

After splitting a pair of games at home last weekend, Moravian finds itself locked in a four-way tie for fourth place in the Landmark Conference with a record of 2-3.  The Greyhounds got by Susquehanna on January 14 but fell to Juniata the next day.

Moravian has four players scoring in double digits, including Chris Cullen (13.8), D.J. Strayhorn (12.4), Garrett Johnson (11.1) and Blake English (10.6).  The Greyhounds enter this weekend last in the Landmark in field goal percentage defense (45%) and second-to-last in three-point field goal percentage defense (35%), but they do boast a turnover margin of +1.25, good for third in the league.  CUA owns a 5-2 record vs. Moravian all-time.

For more information on this weekend's Landmark Conference games, check out this week's game notes.

Friday's showdown with the first place Royals will tip-off at 5:30 p.m. from inside the DuFour Center Gymnasium.  On Saturday, CUA and Moravian will get things started at 2.

CUA will offer live video and stats of both contests this weekend.

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