Late run lifts Catholic over Saint Vincent, 79-74

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Catholic University closed the game with a 10-5 run to top the Saint Vincent men's basketball team 79-74 in a non-conference contest in Washington D.C. 

Senior guard Matt D'Amico poured in a season-high and game-high 22 points in the setback. Freshman forward Shemar Bennett added 12 points and four assists, while senior forward Tom Kromka added 11 points and six rebounds for the Bearcats. 

Saint Vincent pushed out to an early 8-2 lead behind a three-pointer from Josh Duda and an old fashioned three-point play by Bennett at the 18:01 mark. Catholic countered with a 9-2 run to take its first lead of the game at 11-10 with 15:54 to play in the half. After Catholic extended its lead to 15-10, a layup by Bennett gave SVC an 18-17 lead at the 11:36 mark. 

The majority of the remainder of the half was back and forth as neither team could build a leader bigger than one score until Catholic pushed the advantage to 32-26 with 3:44 to play. However, the Bearcats closed the half on a 9-3 run, capped by a three-pointer from freshman Nathan Griffin just before the buzzer to give the Bearcats a 37-35 halftime advantage. 

Early in the second half, Catholic used six straight points to take a 45-44 lead at the 15:26 mark. A little later, layups by Collin Neville and Kromka put SVC in front by a 50-47 score with 13:19 to play. A three-pointer for Catholic would give the hosts a 53-50 lead with 12:38 remaining. Catholic would maintain its lead until the 8:53 mark when freshman David Stephen drained a three to give SVC a 61-60 edge. 

The two teams would exchange the leads several times over the next few minutes. Bennett used a layup and free throw to tie the game at 65-65 with 5:53 to play. After Catholic regained the lead, Kromka converted a layup with 4:47 left to tie the game at 69-69. That is when Catholic took control, scoring 10 of the final 15 points in the contest. During the run, SVC was limited to just one made field goal, a jumper by D'Amico with 34 seconds left. 

Jay Howard and Jimmy Golaszewski each scored 20 points for the host Cardinals. 

Both teams shot the ball well throughout the game. Saint Vincent connected on 51.9 percent from the field in the game, while Catholic converted at a 57 percent clip from the field.

The Bearcats drained nine three-pointers, including four made treys by D'Amico. Rebounding was even, with both teams pulling down 28 boards in the game. One area where Saint Vincent struggled was with turnovers, as they committed 19 turnovers. 

The loss drops SVC to 5-2 overall, while Catholic improves to 2-3 overall. 

Saint Vincent travels to Geneva College for a Presidents' Athletic Conference game on Saturday, Dec. 9. Tip-off with the Golden Tornadoes is slated for 3 p.m.