The last of the 37 regional teams to see action this season finally took to the court on Monday, and for that team. the wait was worth it:
NEW HAVEN 85 CONCORDIA 55
Derrick Rowland led a balanced attack with 16 points and four assists, carrying New Haven to a resounding victory in its season-opener, upending onetime NYCAC rival Concordia in Bronxville. Antonio Lopez tossed in 13 points (4-5 FG) off the bench in his collegiate debut for the Chargers, who led from start to finish, bolting out to a 40-19 lead, before bursting out of the gate at the break with a 39-15 blitz to put the game away at 79-40 before the Clippers closed with a 15-6 spurt. Kessly Felizor chipped in with 12 points and six rebounds for New Haven, which was the more accurate shooting team (48%-35%) and feasted off miscues to the tune of 29-2 as the two teams had reverse assist-turnover ratios (UNH 20/10, CC 10/20). Devon Sims collected 15 points, 10 rebounds and four assists – the latter two totals representing career highs – for Concordia, which also placed Dan Porcic in double digits with 14 points. The Clippers have dropped all five of their games this year to NE10 teams and have lost 11 straight overall dating back to last season.
SCIENCES 78 LINCOLN 60
The only other regional team to earn a victory on Monday was Sciences, which blasted Lincoln (PA) at Morgan Arena on the strength of two outstanding personal performances. Jordan White posted a career-high 29 points (11-15 FG, 5-9 from long range) and Sean Simon a personal-best 27 (7-12 FG, all from downtown Philly) off the bench while matching his career mark with six rebounds. The Devils – who also received 14 points and personal-high 18 rebounds from Connor Murphy – led the entire game, opening up a 35-11 chasm on a Simon trey with 6:31 to play in the half. The Lions – who were paced by Zahrion Blue’s 16-point effort – came no closer than 15 points over the last 20 minutes as the margin crested at 64-39 following another Simon 3-ball with 11:45 left. USciences was the superior shooting club (49%-38%), especially from beyond the arc (12-30 to 2-17) while also dominating the glass, 48-32. Lincoln’s lone statistical edge was an 18-8 boon off turnovers.
EAST STROUDSBURG 104 FELICIAN 80
Three other regional programs fell in PSAC gyms. Carlos Pepin led five in twin figures with 16 points and nine rebounds as East Stroudsburg pulled away from Felician at Koehler Field House. The Golden Falcons were competitive for a while, carving out a 27-25 lead inside the six-minute mark of the first period before the Warriors embarked on a 19-6 run – culminating in two Pepin free throws – to surge in front for good at 44-33 with 1:40 remaining in the half. A 25-12 jaunt in the second turned a 65-54 lead into a 90-66 separation with 5:46 to go, and the visitors never came closer than 18 thereafter, despite solid games from Zamir Wright (19 points, 4-5 from 3), Dee-End McRae (17 points, seven rebounds), Jeff Lewis (11 points, 12 boards, four assists) and Josiah Basket (11 points in as many bench minutes). ESU won the game primarily due to long-distance shooting (14-28 to 6-15) and three times as many turnover points (21-7).
WEST CHESTER 98 HOLY FAMILY 85
Robbie Heath generated 26 points and West Chester used a 14-4 spell midway through the second half to knock off Holy Family at Hollinger Field House. The Tigers’ loss spoiled a breakout game for Branden Aughburns, who amassed a career-high 32 points (14-22 FG) and 12 rebounds, while Eric Esposito was strong off the bench with 16 points (4-6 from distance) and six rebounds, nailing a three just nine seconds into the second half to bring the visitors within 42-37. It was still a competitive 66-59 game at the midway mark of the period before Josh Samec (10 points, 11 rebounds) splashed a triple to jumpstart the aforementioned run that put the game on ice at 80-63 with 6:58 on the clock; the margin bouncing between 11 and 19 the remainder of the ballgame. Vincenzo Daelssandro (19 points, 5-8 from distance, four assists) and Brendan Hoban (15 points, 11 assists) also made impacts for Holy Family, which was outscored 24-7 on the break.
MERCYHURST 89 ROBERTS WESLEYAN 56
For the third straight year, Mercyhurst hammered Roberts Wesleyan in Erie after losing on its home floor four years ago (yes, that makes four straight years the series was played in Pennsylvania). Since that upset, the Lakers have won by an average of 35.3 points, including Monday’s 33-point blowout, which featured balanced scoring with Miykah McIntosh and Trystan Pratapas each contributing 15 points; the latter shooting 4-of-5 from deep in a reserve role. The Redhawks held a 14-11 advantage just past the midway point of the opening frame when the hosts orchestrated a 22-7 upswing – capped by a Pratapas trifecta – that put them on top for good at 33-21. A 15-4 start when play resumed stretched the divide to 54-32 and the margin hovered between 19 and 33 the rest of the way. Zecaree Veiga and Reggie Clark both dropped a dozen for Roberts, which also landed Shane Fanning in doubles with 10 off the bench. Mercyhurst outmuscled the Redhawks in the paint (40-16) and punished them for their mistakes to the tune of 30-8.