February 24, 2024
A packed crowd at the DuFour Center saw the men's basketball team advance to the NCAA Division III tournament Saturday with a Landmark Conference championship win. (Catholic University/Dan Drummond)

The University's men's basketball team earned an automatic berth in the NCAA Division III tournament Saturday with an impressive 87-65 victory over Susquehanna in the Landmark Conference championship game at the DuFour Center.

The women's basketball team fell in the final of the Landmark Conference tournament, 57-48, to Scranton later in the day at DuFour. At 25-2 and ranked in the nation's top 10 team, the Cardinals expect to receive an at-large bid to the tournament.

The men's basketball team is headiing to the NCAA tournament after winning the Landmark Conference. (Catholic University/Emily Dee)

In the men's victory, Tommy Kelly scored 19 points, handed out eight assists, and nabbed four steals to lead Catholic, earning the senior Landmark Championship MVP honors. All five starters scored in double figures for Catholic with Jake Timby stepping into the starting lineup for the first time this season and responding with 16 points in another impressive performance. Brian Herbert (13 points, 7 rebounds), Jesse Hafemeister (12 points, 8 rebounds), and Enzo Sechi (11 points) also reached double digits.

Men's Coach Aaron Kelly celebrated the victory of his team, highlighting the hard work of his seniors.

"It just feels amazing to finally have it happen, especially for this senior class, and the classes that came before them," Kelly said.

It was the first appearance in the Landmark title game since 2016.

"It's just an unbelievable accomplishment for Coach Kelly, his staff, but more importantly the student-athletes," athletic director Kevin Robinson said. "They worked hard throughout the offseason and throughout the regular season. Now they get to go to the NCAAs where you never know what's going to happen."

Robinson praised the women's basketball team for their effort.

"Our women fought valiantly to the end of tonight’s game, so proud of the way they have worked throughout the season," Robinson said. "Coach (Matt) Donohue and his staff have done a phenomenal job this season, winning the Landmark regular season and being ranked in the top 10 throughout the year. We are excited to see them get a chance to continue their season in NCAA’s."

Robinson celebrated the palpable excitement in the packed crowd at the DuFour Center for both games.

"The crowd? Holy cow," Robinson said. "Our students showed out, our Catholic community showed out. They brought the energy. This is what Catholic University is. It's energy. It's enthusiasm. It was unbelievable."