Tonawanda News — Minutes before the Daemen men's basketball team was set to take the floor Friday against Goldey-Beacom on Day Two of the 2013 Knee Center of Western New York Tip-Off Classic, North Tonawanda's Aaron Davis felt the nerves.
"Before this game I was more nervous than I've ever been in my college career," Davis said.
That's because the Wildcats (2-0) were without starters Mark Coppola, Casey Sheehan and Kadeem Johnson — all rehabbing various injuries — and, in the case of Coppola and Sheehan, missing their identity.
"We knew we'd be without one starter going into the weekend, but then to lose two more starters after (Thursday's game against Ohio Valley University) makes it all that much more difficult," said Daemen associate head coach Mike Miranto. "The two that we lost — Mark and Casey — I mean everything we do, our entire style of play, revolves around them and their talents. … So we had to make some adjustments and slow it down a little bit, but the guys battled."
The Wildcats pulled off a 59-56 come-from-behind victory on the strength of junior Gerald Beverly's 18 points and 14 rebounds, and junior Jordan Greene's 18 points, 11 coming in the second half.
But Daemen got contributions from its entire team, including a full game, 40-minute effort from sophomore guard Supreme Hannah, 10 points and 18 rebounds from senior Uchechi Ogbonna and 28 minutes from Davis in only the fourth start of his college career.
Late in the game with the Wildcats clinging to a 57-56 advantage and on the heels of a 9-0 Lightning run, Davis, a defensive specialist, made arguably the biggest play of his Daemen career to secure the win for his team. He took the ball at the top of the key and, with the offense stagnant in recent minutes and the current play breaking down, he blew by his defender in the lane and finished at the rim with a clutch lay up.