WASHINGTON, D.C. - Catholic University men's basketball senior Collin Hartmann scored a career-high 21 points, but Messiah hit a three-pointer with 0.5 seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime and escaped with a 78-75 victory Tuesday night at Franny Murray Court.
The game, which marked the head coaching debut for Aaron Kelly '06, featured 13 ties and 11 lead changes. Both teams scored 26 points in the first half and 41 in the second.
Catholic (0-1) trailed by five, 64-59, with 2:06 left in the second half before an 8-0 run gave the team a 67-64 lead with nine seconds to play. Hartmann scored four points during the run, all coming from the free throw line where he was 4-for-4.
After Hartmann's first two free throws gave the Cardinals a 65-64 lead with 34 seconds remaining, Messiah's Colin Sareyka, who finished with a game-high 32 points, missed a jumper that was grabbed by the Falcons' Nate Eberle with 11 seconds left. However, sophomore Will Turgeon knocked the ball out and Hartmann came up with the loose ball before he was fouled by Eberle.
Hartmann hit both ensuing free throws and Catholic led 67-64 wiht nine seconds to play.
Following a timeout, Messiah's EJ Porter hit his fourth three-pointer of the game, tying the game for the ninth time in the second half and sending it into overtime.
Porter finished the game 4-of-6 from three-point range.
The Falcons (1-0) scored eight of the first nine points in overtime to take a seven-point lead with 2:05 remaining, their largest lead since they led 19-10 with 8:27 left in the first half.
Undaunted, the Cards answered with a 7-1 run to pull within one, 76-75, on a tip-in by senior Thomas Huerter with 22 seconds to play.
The Cardinals were forced to foul and Caleb Light knocked down both free throws to push Messiah's lead to three with 16 seconds remaining before a contested three-pointer by Hartmann was off the mark, sealing the win for the Falcons.
Hartmann posted his first 20-point performance in 52 career games at Catholic since transferring from Division II Mars Hill. He also added six rebounds, five assists and two steals.
Huerter finished with a career-high 18 points in his first game as a Cardinal after playing in 59 games in three seasons at Division I Siena.
In his first game at Catholic after playing in 26 games at St. Mary's College of Maryland, sophomore Zach Spooner finished with 11 points and five rebounds.
Senior Riley Hayes fiished with nine points and nine rebounds, finishing just shy of his 16th career double double. He also added two blocks while Turgeon totaled six points, three rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Catholic returns to action on Friday at the DMV Classic hosted by Hood College. The Cardinals will face St. Mary's at 6 p.m., before taking on either Hood or Gallaudet on Saturday.