CUA honors seniors with 79-60 win over Goucher

WASHINGTON – The Cardinals celebrated Senior Night on Saturday with a 79-60 win over Goucher inside the DuFour Center as CUA earns its 18th win of the season.  Four Cardinals hit for double figures led by seniors Jason Banzhaf (19) and R.J. Dixon (18), with Shawn Holmes (13) and Chris Kearney (10) joining them.  The win gives CUA its third straight season of at least 18 victories.

CUA led the Gophers by just three points with 5:48 to play in the opening half, but the Cardinals got back-to-back 3-pointers from Dixon and Gabe Estrada, followed by a Holmes jumper to open up an 11-point advantage with 4:01 left before halftime.

Banzhaf's old fashioned three-point play with 3:10 on the clock extended the lead to 12, and after Holmes splashed a short jumper just as time expired CUA took a 38-26 lead into the locker room.

The Cardinals then began the second half on an 8-0 run to open up a 20-point advantage over Goucher.  Nate Koenig's basket with 13:08 remaining again made it a 20-point game at 52-32.

Trae Lindsay's basket with 10:48 on the clock brought the Gophers to within 14, but Holmes answered with a shot from downtown to make the score 55-38.

Leading 59-41, CUA scored six straight points to take a 65-41 lead with 6:48 left in the game.

Goucher refused to go away easily and closed to within 68-55 following a pair of free throws by Kyle Gladden.  CUA responded with seven straight points though, including a huge trifecta from Banzhaf with under two to play as the Cardinals opened up a 75-55 advantage.

Down the stretch the CUA crowd paid tribute to the Cardinals seniors, first giving Dixon and Banzhaf loud ovations as they walked off the court, and then cheering the appearance of Ryan Horka and later Ryan Hyland, who has served as a student manager for the last four years and was rewarded on Saturday for his efforts.

After shooting a blistering 59 percent in the opening half CUA was even hotter in the second half, hitting 64 percent en route to a 61.5 percent showing for the game.  The Cardinals tallied 34 rebounds, led by Banzhaf's 11 caroms, and they outscored Goucher 14-2 in fast break points.

The Gophers shot only 33 percent from the field and 25 percent from three-point range.  Four Goucher players hit for double figures, led by Colby Giacubeno who netted 16.  Marcus Cotton was the leading rebounder with seven boards.

Prior to the game, Brian Baker, Spencer Reed, Horka, Dixon, Banzhaf and Hyland, along with members of each of their families were honored during CUA's Senior Night ceremony.

CUA will now head into the postseason where the Cardinals will be seeded third in the Landmark Conference Tournament.  CUA heads to New Jersey on Wednesday to take on No. 2 Drew in the semifinals.  Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.  

Top-seed Scranton will host No. 4 Merchant Marine Academy in the other semifinal with the two winners facing off on Saturday, February 26 in the 2011 championship game.

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