(Danbury) Both teams had graduated All-Time scorers so there was no certainty about where the points would come from.
However, while Western Connecticut State returned four players from a 21-7 team, Albertus Magnus returned four starters from a 29-2 team.
And it was returning starter Darius Watson (30 points) who carried Albertus Magnus (1-0) to a 85-79 nonleague win on Tuesday night at Feldman Arena.
The 6-5 junior played the entire game. He had fifteen points in each half and added six rebounds and five blocks.
The home Colonels (0-3) went behind early but came back to catch the Falcons and lead at halftime, 38-37. The Colonels shot nearly 50% (15-31) and had nine different players contribute points.
You sensed that if the Colonels could slow down Darius Watson (he already had fifteen points) in the second half the visitors might be in trouble.
But they couldn’t slow Darius down (he got fifteen more points) and teammate James Jennings (13 points) put up eleven points in the second half to help the Falcon cause.
Western’s last lead was 56-55 with 11:38 left. Over the next 7+ minutes Albertus outscored the Falcons, 22-9, to grab a 77-65 advantage with four minutes left and put this one in the win column.
During the winning run, Darius had two baskets, two rebounds, a steal and a block. He was the difference maker all game long.
The graduated All-Timers were Ray Askew for team from New Haven and DaQuan Brooks for the team from Danbury.
Ray averaged 24.2 points per game in 2011-12. The 6-6 graduate also holds the Falcons school record in rebounds.
DaQuan totaled 2269 points during his career with Western. He is also the all-time assist leader at WCSU.
On a first look it seemed apparent to me that Western is still trying to sort out who will be carrying the scoring load. Colonel coach Bob Campbell had eleven players score but Ryan Pelletier’s fourteen points was high for the game.
Albertus, on the other hand, seemed quite certain about where the production would come from. Five player played twenty minutes or more and three players (Jefferson Lora, James Jennings, and Mike Sweeney) also reached double figures. Mike Sweeney (6-6) was the big surprise getting eleven points in seventeen minutes.
Albertus Magnus is from the Great Northeast Athletic Conference. They dominated that league last year (18-0) and are favored by the ten other coaches in that league, in a preseason poll, to dominate again.
The Falcons finished the 2011-12 season ranked 20th in D3 Hoops national poll.
Western will next host Trinity on November 28th at 7PM.
(All of the pictures above and below enlarge considerably if you click on them.)