By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – After running past Castleton State (107-87) and surviving in overtime against Hobart (90-88), the Cabrini Cavaliers out of Radnor, PA, find themselves in the “Sweet 16″ of the Division III NCAA Tournament for the second straight year. Today, they leave for Middlebury, Vermont where on Friday they will play Eastern Connecticut State University.
Cabrini head coach Marcus Kahn says they really earned their two weekend victories.
“Our team is tough, we don’t quit. I think if I took one thing away from the weekend it’d be that. We were not going to quit, we were not going to give in, certainly not on our home floor with an opportunity to go back to the ‘Sweet 16.’”
Listen to KYW’s Matt Leon’s interview with Marcus Kahn:
The Cavaliers continue to get phenomenal play from senior point guard Cory Lemons, who hit several huge shots in the second-round win over Hobart and finished with a team high 25 points. But another big reason Cabrini is still standing is the play of freshman Aaron Walton-Moss. A 6’1″ guard out of Camden, New Jersey, Walton-Moss is averaging 22.5 points and 13.5 rebounds a game in the tournament. He talks about playing big on the glass.
“Sometimes you gotta out hustle. If you’ve got a guard on you that’s 180 (pounds) and I’m 200, I should be able to move him easy. I just gotta work hard and I want to win. I’m trying to make this season last as long as I can.”
Listen to KYW’s Matt Leon’s interview with Aaron Walton-Moss:
The Eastern Connecticut State Warriors are 24-5 and they got there by beating Medaille College in the opening round and then surviving a double overtime thriller over host team SUNY-Oswego in round two. Kahn says when you break them down, the Warriors are actually very similar to Hobart.
“They’re not quite as big. They don’t pound it inside quite as much. But they want to do a lot of things through their post players. The one little wrinkle that I think is different with them, is they play their post guys out on the perimeter a little bit more, kind of the high post area more than the low post.”
Kahn says that while Eastern Connecticut is not a familiar opponent to them, the fact that they do play a style they just encountered is a break at this point in a national tournament.
“It really is. Every game now is really against an unfamiliar opponent. Three games (in the tournament) this year, this will be our first time to ever play these schools. Without any familiarity of that exact school, it’s nice to play somebody in consecutive games that at least play similar in style. So we will be able to take a lot out of that Hobart game and put it into play this upcoming Friday.”
This is indeed the second straight year the Cavaliers have made it to the “Sweet 16″ and Kahn says the experience of having been here before is huge.
“While we are very excited to get back to where we were, and it was crazy here on Saturday night, we were able to focus a lot more quickly this year. You could see it on the guys faces, even (Monday) night at practice – they are ready to keep going, ready to keep moving on. Happy, but not satisfied. I think that is all just from the experience of having gone through it last year.”
The other Sweet 16 game in Middlebury on Friday will feature the host school taking on the University of Scranton. The two winners then meet on Saturday for the right to go to the Final Four.