“Hang the Banner:” CUA Men’s Basketball Wins the Landmark Conference Championship 


Image Courtesy of Ryan Tufford | Catholic Athletics

By Luke Weidenkopf 

Utter dominance. That’s what was shown at the DuFour Center on Saturday February 24, as Catholic University’s Men’s Basketball team destroyed Susquehanna University 87-65

It marks Catholic’s first championship in eight years and garnered praise and admiration from the student body and the Landmark Conference. This was head coach Aaron Kelly’s first championship as head coach. He expressed in an interview that once “the buzzer hit zero [he took] a moment to watch his guys celebrate.” Seeing his players so happy was “rewarding” because he knew how hard they worked for this moment. 

Once the buzzer hit zero, Catholic students stormed the court. Gleams of joy and happiness came from everyone in attendance. CUA was expected to win the game as they had dominated all year, earning the first seed and only losing three games the entire season. However, the game was going to be a battle as Kelly stated that his team has focused on both confidence and humility. They never overlook an opponent and are always worried about the next great play that can be made. 

CUA’s keys to success were twofold. Firstly, Coach Kelly reiterated that his team had been through many low points throughout the season and in previous runs. They needed to be and were “resilient.” They never let anything distract them from their goal. Secondly, the team had double-digit scoring from every starter, as Guard Tommy Kelly led the team with 19 points. 

Catholic’s strategy was to run the table on Susquehanna, blocking out their opponent and getting every rebound possible, which frustrated the other team and knocked them off their game. Eight players for CUA played most of the game, the majority of them seniors, but Coach Kelly did not mince words when talking about the rest of the players on his team, stating that his second team players often outplay the first team. They get the first team in shape and are critical to the success of this team. 
Coach Kelly wanted to remark and express his thanks to the entire student body for creating a “loud and packed environment” that intimidated the other team. He said Saturday “was the loudest the Douf has ever been.” He and his team are counting on more support this Friday March 1, as CUA was chosen as an NCAA Division III tournament site. Catholic opens up play that evening against Worcester State as they attempt to continue their unbridled success.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *