MIDDLEBURY, Vt. — Cabrini did something no team in school history has done. By virtue of tonight’s 72-65 win against Eastern Connecticut State, the Cavaliers will make the school’s first appearance in the NCAA tournament quarterfinals.
The victory also marked a milestone for Cabrini head coach Marcus Kahn. In his four years at Cabrini, Kahn’s record stands at 100-18. Kahn just the second coach in school history to reach the century mark, behind Cabrini Hall of Famer John Dzik, who amassed 483 wins in his 25 year career.
The Cavaliers (29-1) displayed a balanced attack, with four players reaching double-figures. Freshman Aaron Walton-Moss posted his fourth consecutive double-double with 15 points and a game-high 14 rebounds. Junior A.J. Williams added 14 points. Seniors Cory Lemons and John Boyd combined for 25 points for the Cavaliers.
The Blue and White took an early 7-0 lead before the Warriors finally found the bucket nearly five minutes into play. ECSU used a 6-0 run midway through the first half to cut Cabrini’s lead back to 15-13. The Cavaliers responded with a 6-0 spurt of its own, keyed by back-to-back Walton-Moss buckets.
The Cavaliers took a 29-23 lead into halftime. The Warriors didn’t allow the Cavaliers to get the running game going in the first half so Cabrini used tough defense and a rebounding dominance to build its lead. Cabrini held ECSU to just 33.3% shooting, including 1-11 from beyond the three-point line.
Meanwhile, the Cavaliers seemed to grab every rebound, to the tune of a 25-15 advantage. All nine Cavaliers who saw action in the first half made a statistical contribution, recording at least one point or rebound.
The Warriors cut Cabrini’s lead back to four points but four points from Lemons and a Boyd three sent the lead back to 36-27, less than three minutes into the half.
A pair of ECSU free throws at the 14:22 mark cut the advantage back to five points, but again the Blue and White responded. A quick 7-0 run, punctuated by another Boyd three-pointer extend Cabrini’s lead to 46-34.
One minute later, a Warrior technical foul gave more life to Cabrini’s offense. After Lemons connected on the free throws, Walton-Moss’ jumper completed the four-point possession. Junior Abraham Bah’s offensive rebound and put back with 7:53 on the clock sent Cabrini to a game-high 17 point lead.
While Walton-Moss and Williams led the Cavaliers offense in the first half, it was the experience of the seniors Lemons and Boyd that did the damage after the break. The duo combined for 23 of their 25 points, including 7-8 from the free throw line.
Boyd paired six rebounds with his 13 points in just 16 minutes of action. Juniors Goran Dulac and Jeremy Knowles and sophomore Fran Rafferty secured five rebounds each for the Cavaliers.
Senior Nick Nedwick led the Warriors (24-6) with 31 points on 12-22 shooting.