For the first 20 minutes, it seemed as if the men’s basketball team went right back into their old ways. Fifteen turnovers, one missed opportunity after another to take the game over and a first half that saw the Beavers go into the locker room down 34-26.
For CCNY, it’s a good thing there’s two halves to a game. And in Friday night’s case, there was also overtime.
The Beavers opened the second half on an 18-6 run then outscored St. Joseph’s College of Long Island 16-4 in overtime in their 84-72 win in their home opener at Nat Holman Gymnasium pushing them to 2-1 on the season. The win marks the fifth year in a row that the men’s basketball program won their home opener. CCNY has never lost the first home game of the season under head coach Tom Green.
“First home game of the season, great to get that under your belt and come out with a ‘W’ for sure,” Green said. “It was a great, hard fought game.”
“It’s big for us because it’s our home opener and it gives guys confidence on how good we can be,” junior transfer Darius Rhodes said after the game. Rhodes shined in his CCNY home debut, notching a double-double, scoring 14 points with a game-high 18 rebounds.
However, it was the returning sophomore Khalil Hamer who guided the Beavers on the offensive side of the ball, scoring a game-high, and career-high 29 points with returning Beaver Anthony Lewis right behind him with 23 points.
Both Hamer and Lewis entered Friday night’s game in the top 10 in scoring in the CUNYAC.
Despite having to of the conference’s top scorers, CCNY struggled to score from the opening tip-off as center Ram Chadha could not get the opening lay-up to drop in three straight attempts in the opening minute before being fouled on the third miss. He ended up making one of his two free throw attempts to score the opening point.
The early misses perfectly defines the first half offensively for CCNY. The Beavers made just 34.4 percent of their shots in the first half (11-for-32) along with the previously mentioned 15 turnovers.
City opened the second half on a 16-3 run, going up by five off of a layuo by Hamer with 12:31 remaining
“Our intensity level just went up two notches from the first half to the second half,” Green mentioned.
Both teams traded the lead back and forth throughout the latter parts of the second half with City appearing to have the game in their hands in the final seconds. However junior Evan Mohammed, who led the Golden Eagles with 19 points for the game, nailed a game-tying three pointer with just 7.1 seconds left to tie the game at 68 and send it into overtime.
“We were hoping we would finish them off in regulation, but they hit a three on us,” Green said.
In the extra frame, the Beavers came out on fire, opening with a 9-0 run to go up 77-68 with 2:39 left. SJCLI pulled back within five off of a layup by sophomore Andy Laurent, however CCNY held on, relying on a 9-for-12 performance from the free throw line in overtime to seal the win.
CCNY (2-1) takes on a hot Yeshiva University team on Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. at Nat Holman Gymnasium. The Maccabees are also 2-1, opening the year 2-0 before losing to Connecticut College 96-87 in double overtime Thursday night. City split a pair of games against Yeshiva last season, losing at home 75-65 in the third game of the season and defeating them 55-53 at Yeshiva on Feb. 6.
“Obviously we know what he did to win, and we just have to carry that through,” Green mentioned about the upcoming matchup.
“It’s going to be a tough assignment for us to say the least.”