Catholic defeated Allentown, 74-61, last night in its season finale. The victory had added importance.
First, it was the last game played in Brookland Gymnasium, for 68 years the home of Cardinal basketball. Next year Catholic will play its home games in the $8.8 million Raymond DuFour complex, adjacent to campus.
Second, it gave Coach Jack Bruen his third straight winning season. Bruen becomes the first Cardinal coach to accomplish that feat since Tom Young in 1964-67.
"I played here, so from that standpoint I hate to leave," said Bruen. "We had some big wins in this building. We beat American and GW while I was here and lost to Georgetown by only three.
"As a coach, I'm sorry to see it go. We had the best home record in the area last year, 10-1." This year, Catholic was 8-3 at Brookland. The Cardinals, winners of their last four games, finished at 13-12.
The Cardinals led, 41-26, at halftime and expanded their lead to 48-26 three minutes into the second half. Ed Larkin hit a 12-footer to start the second half. After John Luzianio's air ball, Rory Cooper scored from 20 feet and then assisted on a basket by Larkin. John Winkler's steal and layin gave Catholic its biggest lead of the game, 22 points, with 16:28 remaining.
The Cardinals maintained their double-digit lead until late in the second half. After Bob Burns' (a team-high 20 points) free throw made the score 59-39, Allentown, taking advantage of several Catholic turnovers, ran off 12 straight points, the last on a 12-foot, base-line jumper by Robert Downey.
Burns hit two free throws and Downey another basket to make the score 61-53 with four minutes remaining, but Catholic's Larkin (14 points) scored eight points in the last three minutes to cut short the Centaurs' comeback.
Stephen Bates led Allentown with 18 points and Luzianio had 16.
"We had some fun out there tonight," said Cooper, one of Catholic's two seniors (the other is Tom Gallagher). "There were lots of alumni here watching the game," Cooper added. "I'm just glad we went out in style."