Tonawanda News —
UNIONTOWN, Pa. — The Daemen men's basketball team has an expression it likes to use when it comes to standout big man Gerald Beverly, who roams the paint on both ends like a ravenous dog ready for a big meal: let him eat.
On Wednesday afternoon in the opening round of the USCAA national invitational tournament, a hungry Beverly enjoyed an all-you-can-eat buffet.
The Wildcats trailed at halftime by a basket after a sluggish start, but Beverly's career-high 40 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks were more than enough to help No. 1-seed Daemen extend its program-best win streak to 14 games with a 95-79 victory over No. 8-seed Concordia.
"That is one of the best individual performances anyone has ever had in all the years that I've coached, without a doubt," said Daemen head coach Don Silveri, referring to Beverly's outing. "Gerald was focused. He made up his mind that he was going to dominate. He's blossomed into such a great player and he just keeps getting better. I've never seen somebody improve so much from their freshman year to their junior year."
Usually a team that gets out of the gates quickly to start a game, Daemen struggled at times against Concordia in the opening half. The Hornets' speed, quickness and size challenged the Wildcats on both ends.
Concordia had 13 second-chance points in the first half off eight offensive rebounds. Luckily for Silveri and the Wildcats, North Tonawanda's Aaron Davis, who scored seven of his 11 points in the first half, provided a spark off the bench to help keep the score close.
"We never lose anything when we put Aaron in the game because he's like a starter," Silveri said. "I think he's going to have a great year next year. I mean, look who he's playing behind. Barring injuries, which he's had to struggle with, I think he's going to be great."