By Matt Parrino
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News —
AMHERST — Gerald Beverly finished two blocks short of a triple double — scoring 20 points, grabbing a game-high 15 rebounds and eight blocks — to lead the Daemen men's basketball team to a 111-90 win over Ohio Valley University Friday night at Lumsden Gymnasium.
The win was the Wildcats' (1-0) first official game as a member of Division II's East Coast Conference, and Beverly said after the game the team wanted to make a statement on its home court.
"We were feeling great. We wanted to come out and throw the punch — show that we weren't going to get beat in our opening game at home," Beverly said. "We wanted to make a statement and that's exactly what we did."
The Wildcats got a scare earlier in first half when senior point guard Mark Coppola left the game after suffering a shoulder injury on a fast break lay up attempt. He had x-rays done and, luckily for Daemen head coach Don Silveri, the injury was deemed only a sprain. Coppola should be back in a few weeks.
In Coppola's absence, senior Casey Sheehan led all scorers with 26 points, going a perfect 4 for 4 from long range. Sophomore guard Supreme Hannah stepped up for Daemen as well, scoring nine points and dishing out eight assists in a career-high 28 minutes.
Silveri was pleased with the play of his young guard.
"Coppola goes down and it's like, 'wow.' But Supreme Hannah did a real good job," Silveri said. "He had eight assists and made a couple big plays. When you play against Mark Coppola every day in practice — it's toughened him up a lot and made him ready. He's still got a ways to go but I thought he did a great job."
The Wildcats got out to a fast start and Beverly was the catalyst. The high-energy big man can get the crowd going with his high-flying abilities, and that's exactly what he did in the opening minutes.
He threw down a monster slam dunk to get everybody in the gym out of their seats, and then kept them there with a block pinned against the backboard on the opposite end.
Silveri said Beverly was outstanding tonight, and the success the team has had is because they play for each other every time out.
"What i like the most is that they play for one another. It's a team," he said. "Over the years I've had a lot of poor teams with a lot of individuals. These guys know their roles and they try to perform them to the best of their ability. You can't ask for much more than that."
Senior Uchechi Ogbonna turned in a double-double as well, scoring 17 points and grabbing 14 rebounds. North Tonawanda's Aaron Davis scored six points off the bench, and Tonawanda grad Jesse Lalka scored his first career basket late in the second half.
The Wildcats are back in action this afternoon when they host Goldey-Beacom College out of Wilmington, Del. at 4 p.m.Follow @tonanewssports and sports editor @MattParrino on Twitter for complete local sports coverage.