Men Fall in Close Battle with Villa Maria in Season Opener

Gerry Raymonda
Gerry Raymonda

DELHI, N.Y. (November 17, 2018) – The SUNY Delhi men's basketball team entertained a raucous home crowd in their competitive season opener against Villa Maria on Saturday as part of their Hall of Fame Tournament. Despite opening the game hot with a 12-0 run three-and-a-half minutes in, the Broncos eventually found themselves locked in a tight match with the Vikings. Though Delhi's starting five finished in double figures and the team stringing together several late rallies, it would be Villa that walked away with an 88-84 victory. Head coach Zack Thomsen's team will play Bryant & Stratton Syracuse in the opening men's contest on Sunday at 2:00 p.m.

Prior to the game, SUNY Delhi recognized their three newest members to the Athletics Hall of Fame: volleyball player Hikaru Kozuma '07, baseball, basketball and soccer star Robin Turner '65, and the 1991-92 men's basketball team. This induction class joined in cheering on Delhi at tip-off, where the Broncos responded with a pair of threes and a trio of layups, courtesy of Justin Daoud and William Knight, to score the first 12 points of the contest. Villa got its first score with 16:26 remaining in the opening half, and steadily closed the gap where both teams found themselves tied for the first time at 23-23 with 8:25 to play before halftime. It would be a back-and-forth opening session from then on, resulting in the Broncos behind by just four points at 42-38 at intermission.

While the Vikings opened the second half with ten straight points for their largest lead of the day by 14, it prompted the first of several instances where the Broncos would rally to threaten Villa Maria's lead. Delhi got to within one possession of the Vikings on five occasions, with its last attempt coming the closest, trailing 84-83 with 25 seconds left. The visitors, though, would succeed on two ensuing trips to the free-throw line to hang on for the four-point victory.

Daoud, in his first career game as a Bronco, tallied a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds, as well as point guard Jordan Fragale with 10 points and 11 assist, including grabbing seven rebounds. Knight connected for 13 points, while Carlos Ithier and Payton Dean each scored 11 points. Newcomer Mavenson Therneus added nine points off the bench, while fellow rookie Norman Wilson charted seven points with four rebounds.

The Broncos shot 39.2 percent from the field (31-for-79), but connected on just 8-of-35 3-pointers. The Vikings shot 49.3 percent (33-for-67) and 7-for-16, respectively. While it was an even 44-44 ledger on the boards, Delhi forced Villa into 16 turnovers for a 21-14 advantage in points off turnovers, as well as leading, 26-14, in bench points and 17-6 in second-chance points. The Vikings posted a 48-36 lead in points in the paint and a 16-4 ledger in fastbreak points.