WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Susquehanna men's basketball team struggled down the stretch at Catholic and ultimately fell 77-64 to the Cardinals on Friday night.
The teams both saw their shares of the lead for the majority of the game, but SU (8-6, 2-2) scored just four points over the final five minutes of play, allowing Catholic (12-3, 2-2) to take, and retain, a double-digit lead.
Freshman Matt McGugan (Silver Spring, Md./Blake) led the team with a 13-point performance while Spenser Spencer (Seattle, Wash./Lakeside) chipped in 10 points, all of which came in the first half. Spencer is now 18 points from reaching the top-10 list of SU's of all-time scorers.
The Crusaders did shoot 42 percent from the floor and 43 percent from three-point range, but shot just 45 percent from the line and were out-rebounded 41-32.
Very quickly it was a 5-0 Crusaders advantage before the Cardinals went on a 9-2 run to grab a 9-7 lead with 15:17 on the clock.
For the next five minutes, the lead swapped hands. SU led 20-17 after a McGugan jump shot midway through the half before jumping out to a six-point lead (27-19) on a McGugan trey at the eight-minute mark.
An 8-2 Catholic run cut the Crusader lead to two (29-27) but a Spencer three-point play with 3:36 remaining pushed SU's lead to five (32-27).
Five unanswered Cardinals points tied the game (32-32) for the first time since the 15:39 mark. It remained tied at 34-all with 36 ticks left on the clock and remained the halftime score.
It was 36-36 after 90 seconds of second-half action before Catholic went on a 5-0 run to lead 41-36 and it was a six-point Cardinals lead (45-39) with 16:22 to play.
Back-to-back J.T. Wilson (Sparta, N.J./Pope John XXIII Regional) three-pointers made it a one-point game, 47-46, with 15:07 remaining in the game.
The game was briefly knotted at 49 before Catholic grabbed a 55-52 lead with 12 minutes left. Just inside the midway point of the half, the Cardinals maintained a two-point lead (57-55).
An 8-0 stretch gave Catholic the first double-digit lead of the game (65-55) with 7:09 on the clock and SU found itself trailing 72-60 inside the four-minute mark.
With two minutes remaining, Catholic held a game-high 15-point lead, 75-60, and maintained that double-digit lead to win 77-64.
The Crusaders travel to conference opponent Goucher tomorrow for a 5:30 p.m. game.
Late Struggles Lead to SU Loss