Nov 12, 2012, 4:22 PM EST
The opening weekend of the CAA men’s basketball season featured several notable wins over in-state rivals.
Before a sellout crowd of 9,840 at the Patriot Center, George Mason defeated Virginia 63-59. It was Mason’s first win in eight tries against the Cavaliers and their fourth victory ever over an ACC foe. Junior guard Bryon Allen came up big in crunch time, draining a three-pointer with 1:02 left that snapped a 57-57 tie and hitting a pair of free throws with two seconds to go that sealed the win. Junior Sherrod Wright finished with a team-high 15 points and junior Johnny Williams, who missed all of last season due to injury, contributed 11 points on 5-of-7 FG shooting. Freshman Marco Gujanicic also looked good in his collegiate debut, chipping in six points and seven rebounds off the bench.
For the third year in a row, the Battle of Boston went to Northeastern. The Huskies edged Boston University 65-64 when sophomore Demetrius Pollard knocked down a 3-pointer at the buzzer. Pollard’s game-winner was his only field goal of the game. With running mate Jonathan Lee sidelined due to an injury, senior guard Joel Smith came through with a team-high 20 points and five assists. Sophomore forward Reggie Spencer poured in a career-best 18 points on 7-of-9 FG shooting and sophomore forward Quincy Ford just missed a double-double with 11 points and nine boards.
William & Mary won its home opener for the ninth time in 10 seasons under coach Tony Shaver by topping Tidewater neighbor Hampton, 69-51. There was no sophomore slump for dynamic guard Marcus Thornton, as he hit a career-best six treys on nine attempts and finished with a team-high 24 points. Junior guard Brandon Britt added 17 points and junior forward Tim Rusthoven posted a career-best 18 points and seven rebounds. Forward Kyle Gaillard, who missed last season due to injury, made a successful return to the court with eight rebounds.
Starting the season in Trask Coliseum for the first time in four years, UNCW rallied past UNC Asheville 67-59. Sophomore forward Cedrick Williams recorded his first career double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds and All-CAA forward Keith Rendleman added 14 points and nine boards. Coach Buzz Peterson has made defense a priority this season for UNCW and it looked good in the opener as the Seahawks came up with 14 steals and limited the Bulldogs to 34.5% FG shooting.
Other performances of note:
Delaware senior center Jamelle Hagins, who was among the nation’s leaders with 15 double-doubles in 2011-12, wasted no time getting his first this season with 12 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks in a 73-66 loss at La Salle.
Senior Chris Fouch made six three-pointers and scored a team-high 24 points in Drexel’s 66-62 overtime setback at Kent State. Fouch is now 7th on the Dragons’ all-time treys list with 197.
Freshman guard R.J. Hunter, the son of Georgia State head coach Ron Hunter, had 14 points and 10 rebounds in his collegiate debut at 8th-ranked Duke. Junior guard Devonta White also played with 19 points against the Blue Devils.
Freshman forward Jimmy Hall made an immediate impact for Hofstra, averaging 14.0 points and 8.5 rebounds in the Pride’s first two games. Hall posted a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds at Monmouth and scored a team-high 17 points at Purdue.
Several newcomers turned in strong efforts as Old Dominion went 1-2 in the Liberty Tax Classic. Senior center DeShawn Painter, a transfer from N.C. State, put together back-to-back 12-point, 8-rebound efforts against Holy Cross and Morgan State. Freshman guard Keenan Palmore filled the stat sheet by averaging 10.0 points, 7.7 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.7 steals in the first three games and fellow rookie Aaron Bacote scored 15 points versus UTSA.
Georgetown transfer Jerrelle Benimon scored a team-high 23 points in his Towson debut at College of Charleston. Senior center Bilal Dixon, a transfer from Providence, recorded a double-double with 15 points and a team-high 10 rebounds in his first game with the Tigers.
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