DWC, Rivier up late to ring in new season
NASHUA – Ray Farmer told his Daniel Webster College men’s basketball teammates that they weren’t going to lose in their special midnight season opener vs. city rival Rivier University.
By 2 a.m. Saturday, he had kept his promise.
Farmer only scored 11 points, but scored five key points down the stretch while hauling down a game-high 10 rebounds as the Eagles pulled away from the Raiders, 76-66, before the expected lively sellout crowd of 450 at Riv’s Muldoon Center.
"We kept it together," Farmer said. "The atmosphere was crazy, but I’m crowd of my guys, we stuck together and came out with the win."
The Eagles were actually led by sophomore newcomer Antwaun Boyd’s 21 points, but it was the 6-5 junior from Nashua who put DWC up for good, 44-42, with just under 18 minutes to play. The Eagles, who broke out to an early 18-5 lead, were up 39-35 at the half. Rivier never led in the game.
"I knew that was a pinnacle point in the game, you know," Farmer said of his early second-half go-ahead bucket. "Momentum was shifting in their favor, so I knew I had to come down, we needed a hoop. That was a big possession."
"He told his teammates he wouldn’t let them lose," Eagles coach Donald Morris, Jr. said. "He’s a great player but also a great leader for us."
Rivier was led by sophomore Andre Ruff’s 18 points and 14 from Victor Davila. But the Raiders were outrebounded 48-31 and shot only 22 of 58 from the floor (37.9 percent). Riv leads the overall series between the two 27-12 but has lost the last two Midnight Madness contests (2-2).
"I just thought we couldn’t get our team to execute, it was just too emotional," Rivier coach Dave Morissette said. "We talked about it. The hype of the game. We don’t have their athleticism. We’re quick, but we had to out-execute them and we just didn’t do it."
Trailing by 10 for parts of the second half, the Raiders still managed to stay in the game. They pulled to within 60-55 with 8:05 to play, saw the Eagles pull away again, and then tried one more run. A Ruff layup with 3:10 to play cut the gap to 67-61, but Farmer answered with a big hoop.
Later he put the game away with a traditional three-point play that increased the margin to 72-61 with 1:50 left. Done deal.
"We’ll be all right," Morissette said. "To be honest, they might be more athletic than us but I don’t think they’re that much better than us. I think we’ve got good players, too, and we have a chance to have a good year."
So do the Eagles, with a host of new players. They shot 28 of 56 from the floor, exactly 50 percent. Boyd, originally from Stamford, Conn., is a junior college transfer while Rondell Best, a 6-7 junior from Brockton, Mass., contributed 16 points.
"It’s like the Yankees," Farmer said. "We have so much talent, it could go either way."
Early Saturday morning went just as Farmer promised – the Eagles’ way.