Men’s Basketball Opens Season with Non-Conference Victory, 71-56

Charger Athletics

OAKDALE, N.Y. – The University of New Haven men’s basketball team defeated Dowling College 71-56 Sunday afternoon in its 2011-12 season opener. The Chargers non-conference win is the second opening game victory since 2005.

Justin Exum (Brooklyn, N.Y./Xaverian) connected on the game’s first points with a pair of free throws and the Chargers season was officially underway. In the opening minutes, Dowling took a slight edge and led by as many as three points in the opening five minutes. Two free throws from Eric Anderson (Newark, N.J./Newark Tech) with 15:13 left in the first half would tie the game at 9-9, while five more unanswered points, including a three-pointer from Exum, gave the Chargers a five-point, 14-9 lead with 13:27 left.

The Golden Lions evened the score at 14-14, but New Haven rallied and went on a 9-1 run over the next four minutes to gain an eight-point lead, 23-15 with 8:45 left in the first half. Dowling then regained momentum and went on its own 8-0 run to tie the score once again, just four minutes later. New Haven did, however, take the lead back in the closing minutes of the first half behind a trio of baskets from freshman Cyrus James (Manchester, Conn./Howell Cheney Tech). James scored six points down the stretch and led the Chargers to a 35-30 lead at the break.

Anderson opened the second half with a layup, just 24-seconds in and immediately put the Chargers ahead by seven points, 37-30. The Chargers held on to the lead throughout the second half and gradually started to pull away from the Golden Lions. A two-point basketball by Justin Alexander brought Dowling within one point with 12:40 left in the second half. After pulling ahead by five points, the Chargers were again ahead by just one point after a Golden Lions three-pointer with 7:53 left.

New Haven then gained momentum and went on a 12-2 run over the course of three minutes to take an 11-point lead, 63-52. The Chargers continued to make free throws down the stretch, going 4-for-6 in the final 1:20 to seal a 15-point victory, 71-56.

The Chargers shot 57.1-percent from the floor and out-rebounded the Golden Lions 35-18. Five Chargers scored in double figures in the win, including three freshmen. Jeffery Adkins, Jr. was second on the team with 14 points off 6-of-6 from the floor and 2-of-3 from the charity stripe. The sophomore also recorded two rebounds, two assists and two steals for the Chargers. Samir McDaniels (Roxbury, Mass./New Mission) went a perfect 5-for-5 from the floor and 5-for-6 from the free throw line to lead the team with 25 points. He added five rebounds and one assist in his first collegiate game. Exum and Anderson each added 13 points, while Anderson led the team with nine rebounds. James was the final Charger in double digits with 10 points to go along with five rebounds.

New Haven will return to action on Wednesday, November 16 when it hosts the College of Saint Rose. The Northeast-10 Conference and home at Charger Gymnasium will tip-off at 7:30 p.m.