Cavaliers advance to first Final Four in school history

By Kevin Durso
March 11, 2012


Cabrini College Athletics Department / Submitted photo

The Cavaliers men’s basketball team kept their amazing ride going with a 78-58 win over the University of Scranton Royals in the Elite Eight round of the NCAA Division III Tournament at the Pepin Gymnasium in Middlebury, Vt., on Saturday, March 10. The win clinched a sectional championship for the Cavs and advances them to their first Final Four in school history.

After clawing their way to a 72-65 win over No. 21 Eastern Connecticut State University in the Sweet 16, which they led from start to finish, Cabrini found themselves down early in this match.

After Scranton jumped out to a 10-4 lead, the Cavs went on an 18-2 run that gradually shifted the score in their favor.

The Royals had advanced to face Cabrini on a last-second three-pointer at the buzzer against host Middlebury College, which established that three-point shooting was a key part to their game. Credit the Cabrini defense then, as Scranton missed their first seven attempts from beyond the arc.

That didn’t stop the Royals from making things difficult on the Cavs. By the end of the half, Cabrini’s lead, which at one point was as high as 14, was cut to 11 on a buzzer-beating three by sophomore guard Tommy Morgan.

In the second half, Scranton started to find their touch from three-point range. The Royals drained their first six three-point shots and cut the Cabrini lead to two with 11 minutes to play.

From there, the Cavaliers put on a shooting clinic. Within four minutes, their lead was back to double digits. The Cavs would finish the final seven minutes on a 16-5 run to seal the win and a trip to the Final Four.

The Cavaliers were led by the senior guard who has carried them all season, Cory Lemons. Lemons finished with a game-high 20 points and added five rebounds and four assists. Freshman guard Aaron Walton-Moss continued his strong run finishing with 17 points and 10 rebounds for another double-double, his fifth straight game completing the feat.

It was also a big night for junior guard Jeremy Knowles and sophomore forward Fran Rafferty. Knowles finished with 16 points, while Rafferty had the hot-hand shooting, making five of his seven field goal attempts and finishing with 11 points.

After a successful weekend in Middlebury, Vt., the team prepares to travel to Salem, Va., for the Final Four. They will play host to Illinois Wesleyan University on Friday, March 16, in the National Semifinals.

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Kevin Durso

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