The Catholic University basketball team reached rock bottom last night, the Cardinals dropping their seventh straight decision, 78-63, to St. Francis at Brookland Gym.
"We stunk," said Cardinal coach Jack Kvancz. "We quit, no doubt about it. We had no enthusiasm. No emotion. No effort."
Catholic fell behind, 44-28, at halftime. The Cardinals were getting good shots but were hitting nothing but rim. They shot a dismal 34 percent in the half and upped that to just 39 percent for the game. The New Yorkers with a significantly smaller lineup, outrebounded Catholic, 36-31.
Catholic trailed, 26-22, when the roof fell in, as it has night after night, recently. Terrier guard Eric Greene, a 17-point-per-game reserve, came in to score 14 points in the first half, including five straight, to put St. Francis in the lead, 33-22. Greene's devastating moves to the basket culminated in a driving three-point play -- highlighted by a double-crossing dribble -- to end the half.
Cardinal center Mike Neville was his team's only shooter, converting five of seven shots for 10 points in the half.
St. Francis tried desperately to make a game of it in the second half but Catholic didn't respond. The Terriers did not score for the first five minutes of the half, but Catholic, which committed five turnovers in those five minutes, could chip only eight points off the deficit.
When St. Francis Coach Gene Roberti finally brought Greene back into the game, his star guard put an end to things: Greene scored eight points and Catholic's offense died.
Greene finished with 30 points on 13 of 16 from the floor.
Catholic was led by Neville, who made 11 of 17 shots and scored 22 points. However, after scoring 12 points in the first eight minutes of the scored half, he was invisible the rest of the way.
"We just didn't get him the ball," said Kvancz, who acknowledged that Neville wasn't working overly hard to get the ball and that his teammates weren't working overly hard to spring him.
Kvancz was unwilling to make excuses for his club, but if his team wanted to make one, Kvancz guessed what it might be. "They could say we've lost a lot of tough games and that's what has us down. That's no excuse, but human beings are great rationalizers."
"The remedy is themselves," said Kvancz. "I can only be their emotion for so long."