Tonawanda News

February 7, 2014

Daemen wins big over Molloy, 111-72

By Matt Parrino
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News —

AMHERST — On the heels of one of the most dramatic wins in Western New York college basketball this season last weekend, the Daemen men's basketball team followed up its 84-83 comeback win over the New York Institute of Technology with a blowout 111-72 win over Molloy College Friday night at Lumsden Gymnasium.

With the victory the Wildcats (16-6, 13-3 East Coast Conference) extend their home win streak to 32 straight games and have now won nine in a row overall. Four Daemen players scored in double figures and the Wildcats shot 59 percent from the field and 62 percent from three-point range as a team.

"It's one of those days where everything went our way," said Daemen head coach Don Silveri. "We got their two big guys in foul trouble right away and their whole game plan was to stop Gerald (Beverly), and they kind of forgot about everybody else."

Beverly still finished with 16 points, but Wildcats forward Jordan Greene was the star against the Lions, scoring a game-high 20 points, including 4-for-5 from behind the arc. 

The sharpshooter is the first guy off the bench and Silveri called him Daemen's assassin. 

Greene enjoys his role.

"It's not that I don't like to start but I prefer coming off the bench and having that scorer's mentality," Greene said. "I think the team looks at me to score so I just try to do what I can."

Silveri said he likes to run a play for Greene as soon as he checks into the game to gauge what kind of night it's going to be for the junior. Usually, if he sinks his shot, Silveri said he knows it's "lights out."

Daemen associate head coach Mike Miranto (North Tonawanda) said it's a luxury to have a player of Greene's skill level available off the bench.

"To know that you're going to get some scoring off the bench is key, and it's as big a part of this run we're putting together as anything else," Miranto said. 

Greene went 4 of 4 from three-point land in the first half, and Miranto said it was probably the best half the Wildcats have played all season.

The Lions (11-10, 8-5 ECC) opened up an 8-4 lead to start the game, but the Wildcats responded in a big way, outscoring Molloy, 54-19, the rest of the first half. Daemen kept its collective foot on the gas pedal in the second half to cruise to the win.

Kadeem Johnson — who was named ECC Player of the Week last week, averaging 19 points and nine boards in Daemen's three wins — continued his stellar play. The senior co-captain scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for a double-double.

The backcourt of Mark Coppola (9) and Casey Sheehan (7) combined for 16 of the Wildcats' 24 assists for the game. Sheehan scored 17 points and senior Uchechi Ogbonna added 14 points and nine rebounds. Daemen out-rebounded Molloy, 47-27, and shot 91 percent from the free throw line.

Greene gave credit to the fans in attendance for their support throughout Daemen's win streak. The Wildcats boast the top attendance numbers in the ECC this season.

"The love from the crowd was unreal. Thirty-two in a row at home? You can't ask for anything more," Greene said. "I think we haven't even hit our peak yet — we're still on the rise. We're all coming together as a team and one unit."

NOTES: Daemen was previously winless against Molloy in two previous meetings ... The Lions beat the Wildcats 78-69 on Dec. 20 ... North Tonawanda's Aaron Davis scored seven points and grabbed two rebounds in only 10 minutes off the bench ... Silveri said after the game he is limiting Davis' minutes to help keep the junior healthy as he hopes to avoid more issues with his recurring Achilles injury ... Tonawanda graduate Jesse Lalka scores two points in his eight minutes of action ... St. Joe's graduate Jaylen Morris started and played 23 minutes for Molloy, scoring six points, grabbing one rebound, dishing out one assist, recording one block and one steal.

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