Going to be reviving this semi-regular feature to recap what happened around college basketball on big nights of the week. Considering there were 163 games on opening night, it seems like a great time to recap all the action.
Most Notable Game:
Wagner 67, #18 Connecticut 58
Bashir Mason could not have asked for more from his team in the Seahawks’ season debut. They held UConn to 0.92 points per possession. Mike Aaman had an excellent game with 15 points, nine rebounds and two assists. Michael Carey didn’t shoot the ball well, but he was a pest defensively and grabbed four steals to go along with six rebounds and seven points. Wagner held UConn to just 36% shooting from the field. The win helps cement the Seahawks as the top team in the NEC. It’s also the type of victory that the NEC failed to secure last season, so this could be a good sign moving forward.
Other New York Games:
Columbia 73, Stony Brook 66: Jim Engles won his debut as Columbia head coach as Luke Petrasek scored 20 points for the Lions. Freshman Mike Smith had 14 points for the Lions and Nate Hickman added 13. Columbia shot 10-25 from three and scored 1.09 points per possession. Stony Brook, which is rebuilding under first year head coach Jeff Boals, was led by Roland Nyama, who scored 16 points off the bench.
Hofstra 74, Coppin State 72: The Pride had to rally from eight points down at the half to defeat the Eagles, who are expected to be one of the worst teams in Division I, at home. Ronak Gustys grabbed 23 rebounds and scored 10 points, but went 0-8 from the free throw line. Brian Bernardi went 0-8 from three. One bright spot for the Pride was Eli Pemberton, who came off the bench to score 20 points on 7-12 shooting.
East Tennessee St. 96, Fordham 59: ETSU is expected to be one of the better teams in the Southern Conference, but the Rams were absolutely hammered in their road opener. Javontae Hawkins led the team with 18 points in 32 minutes. But Fordham really struggled defensively, allowing 1.63 points per possession.
Bucknell 76, Manhattan 64: The Jaspers got down by 11 points in the second half and wasn’t about to complete the comeback, and fell on the road in their opener. Depending on your perspective, Manhattan either showed its depeth or its lack of a go-to player as seven players scored between six and 11 points. Ahmed Ismail, a 7-2 center, grabbed nine boarsd for the Jaspers in just 18 minutes of work.
LIU Brooklyn 78, John Jay 40: The Blackbirds played a non-Division I opponent and did exactly what was expected. The big news coming out of this one was that Joel Hernandez, who scored 17 points and grabbed five boards, injured a finger near the end and could be out for an extended period of time. Jerome Frink had a double-double with 17 points and 16 rebounds for the Blacbkirds.
St. John’s 100, Bethune-Cookman 53: Federico Mussini scored 20 points and freshman Marcus LoVett added 19 as the Red Storm routed the Wildcats in Queens. Bethune-Cookman is expected to be one of the worst teams in Division I, but Chris Mullin has to be happy with the fast pace (72 possessions) and efficient scoring (1.39 points per possession) his team displayed in its opener.
Seton Hall 91, Fairleigh Dickinson 70: Khadeen Carrington scored 27 and Angel Delgado scored 22 points and grabbed 14 rebounds as the Pirates were just way too much for the Knights to handle on opening night. Earl Potts, Jr. was unavailable for FDU still due to injury. Darian Anderson scored 27 points on 11-17 shooting. The rest of the team really struggled shooting the ball, going just 13-44 (30%) from the field.
The Rest of Division I:
Albany 87, Penn State 81: The Great Danes went to State College, PA, and took a check and a victory back with them to the Albany. Joe Cremo scored 22, Dallas Ennema 20, and David Nichols 19 in the victory. Albany scored 1.12 points per possession and dominated the Nittany Lions on the boards.
Monmouth 78, Drexel 65: Four starters were in double-figures as the Hawks earned a comfortable victory over the Dragons in their season opener. Justin Robinson scored 15 points on 16 shots. Micah Seaborn was quite efficient, scored 17 points on just nine shots from the field. Monmouth, which scored 1.07 points per possession, performed about as you’d expect against a middling mid-major. The first big test comes on Tuesday at South Carolina.
Central Connecticut 75, Hartford 60: This game is notable because CCSU only one four games all of last season, and didn’t get its first victory of the season last year until Dec. 18. But Donyell Marshall’s debut went quite smoothly, as Austin Nehls scored 18 points to lead CCSU. Sophomore Eric Bowles had eight assists in 30 minutes for the Blue Devils. Hartford, which was gutted by the last transfer for Pancake Thomas, struggled mightily on offense, scoring just 0.81 points per possession.
Penn 67, Robert Morris 50: This loss didn’t manage to answer any of the questions Colonials fans have about where the points are going to come from this season. Isaiah Still was the only RMU player in double-figures with 15 and the team scored just 0.72 points per possession. RMU was just 3-17 from three, after being one of the worst three-point shooting teams in the country last season. One bright spot? Seventeen offensive rebounds, including three by the returning Aaron Tate. Penn was led by 6-foot-8 freshman AJ Brodeur, who scored 23 points on 11-14 shooting and grabbed 11 rebounds. Matt Howard also had a double-double with 15 points and 10 boards.
Stanford 80, Harvard 70: This game was played in China and it will be a long, frustrating trip home for the Crimson, who had a shot at picking up a victory over a Pac 12 opponent. Freshman Bryce Aiken scored 21 points on 5-15 shooting, but a perfect 8-8 from the line for the Crimson. Siyani Chambers returned from injury to score 12 points with four assists and three rebounds in 28 minutes. But Harvard couldn’t find quite enough offense to pull off the upset.