WASHINGTON, D.C. - Catholic University men's basketball junior Riley Hayes scored a career-high 31 points while grabbing a team-high eight rebounds, but Marymount erased a 10-point second-half deficit en route to a 70-67 victory Tuesday night at Franny Murray Court.
The Cardinals (0-1) suffered just their third loss in 15 season openers under head coach Steve Howes and only their second against Division III opponents. The team opened the 2014-15 season with a 102-66 loss at Division I Davidson.
Hayes was 13-of-19 from the floor and 5-of-7 from the free throw line. His previous career high was 19 set against Moravian at home on Feb. 17, 2018 in the next to last game of the season a year ago. He totaled 20 second-half points on 8-of-11 shooting while going 4-for-6 from the free throw line.
Catholic outscored Marymount in points in the paint, 44-24, while scoring 21 points off of 17 Saint turnovers.
The Cardinals' achilles heel came at the free throw line where they were 11-of-22. They also made just two three-pointers, their lowest total since they were also 2-for-8 in a 61-60 win at Washington College on Jan. 2, 2014.
Tonight's game featured nine ties and 18 lead changes. Marymount (2-0) took its largest of the game at 14-9 just under seven minutes in on a three-pointer by Ladarius McCord. The Cards answered with a 7-0 run to regain the lead before taking a three-point advantage at the half, 34-31.
With the game tied for the ninth time at 42-42, Catholic used a 10-0 spurt to take its largest lead of the game with 9:31 remaining. Hayes scored six of the 10 points, but the Cardinals missed an opportunity to add more, hitting just 4-of-7 attempts from the free throw line.
Taking advantage of the opportunity, the Saints scored 23 of the next 35 points to take a 65-64 lead with 3:01 to play, their first lead since the 2:01 mark of the first half.
Trailing 68-66 with 1:22 remaining, Catholic hit just one of two free throws and missed a chance to tie the game with eight seconds remaining before Marymount sealed the three-point win with two free thows with six seconds left.
The Cardinals shot 63.2 percent from the floor in the second half, but the Saints were 6-of-10 from three-point range and 9-of-12 from the free throw line while Catholic was just 9-of-17.
Senior Andre Mitchell had 11 points while junior Brandon Easton had six points and four assists. Getting the start in his first collegiate game, freshman Will Turgeon finished with two points, two rebounds and two assists.
The Cardinals return to action on Saturday at the Battle of D.C. & Maryland Tournament hosted by Gallaudet where they will face Hood beginning at 2 p.m.