March 01, 2024
Enzo Sechi goes for one of his 21 points in Friday's win over Worcester State University (Catholic University/Patrick G. Ryan)

The Catholic University men's basketball team earned their first NCAA tournament win since 2015 Friday. in an unforgettable overtime thriller.

The Cardinals topped Worcester State University 75-72 after being down 21 points in the first half. The DuFour Center was electric, with fans reaching a fever pitch as the Cardinals erased the deficit in the second half. The game then went to overtime after a tense second-half finish, with the Cardinals coming out on top after the five-minute extra session. 

In the win, Enzo Sechi scored 21 points, with 13 rebounds and 5 assists. Jesse Hafemeister, co-led the team in scoring, with 21 points. Tommy Kelly led the team in steals with three and scored 16 points. Off the bench came, Danny Buckley added 15 points with 14 rebounds and seven assists.

The Cardinals also only turned the ball over 10 times, something Coach Aaron Kelly focuses heavily on when coaching.

“It's just discipline. It's something that these guys have worked on throughout their careers,” Kelly said. 

With this victory, the Cardinals improve to 25-3, hoping to continue this momentum in the next round of the tournament. 

See photos from the win.

Kelly spoke on the win following the game, saying it was, “as satisfying of a win as we've collectively had one. It was in the NCAA tournament. It was against a really good team, who I felt like played really, really well tonight. And that was probably as hard as we as we have ever collectively had to work to get a win.”

Hafemeister, the Landmark Conference Player of the Year, added, “Working for six, seven months in the whole off-season means it all comes down to this. We know we're not gonna leave anything on the table.”

The Cardinals will now face Rowan University on Saturday with a 5:45 p.m. tipoff on Franny Murray Court.