Men's Basketball Falls Short Of No. 22 Daemen In Opener

Men's basketball jump-shooter from left corner.
Jeff Lewis had 12 points and seven rebounds in 16 minutes in Felician's season-opening loss. (Artur Workstus)

AMHERST, N.Y. – Despite 20 points and eight rebounds from sophomore forward Jay'von Jackson (Plainfield, N.J.), the Felician University men's basketball team was defeated by host Daemen College, 95-80, in non-conference action on Friday night at Lumsden Gymnasium. Felician was playing in its first game of the 2019-20 season.

The contest wrapped up Day 1 of the four-team, two-day ECC-CACC Challenge presented by WNY Knee and Orthopedic Surgery PC. Felician will continue in the event on Saturday by facing Roberts Wesleyan College at 2 p.m. in Amherst.

Daemen (2-1) is ranked No. 22 in the national preseason NCAA Division II coaches' poll.

The Golden Falcons had difficulty containing Wildcat returning All-America center Andrew Sischo (Guilderland, N.Y.). The redshirt junior shot 12 for 17 from the floor, and recorded 31 points, 19 rebounds, four assists and five blocked shots in 36 minutes.

Jackson had nine points and two assists during a 21-2 first-half run that turned a four-point Felician deficit into a 38-23 lead. The Golden Falcons led by as many as 17 following three Jackson free throws with one minute, 48 seconds, left in the opening period, but settled for a 50-39 edge at the break.

Felician senior Zamir Wright (Newark, N.J.) nailed a three-point field goal with 17:00 left in regulation to restore a 56-47 lead for the visitors. From there, the Golden Falcons went explicably cold. Daemen scored the game's next 18 points over a 5 ½ minute stretch of clock time, as Felician went 0 for 9 with four turnovers.

A transition layup by Jeff Lewis (Sicklerville, N.J.) at the 11:54 mark broke the spell, but Felician never fully recovered. The Wildcats extended to a 74-60 advantage on two Jeff Redband (Batavia, N.Y.) free throws at the 10:13 mark, and the Golden Falcons did not come any closer the rest of the night than slicing that deficit in half.

Felician was held to 30-percent shooting in the second half (1 for 15 from three-point range) and 35 percent for the game. Daemen, meanwhile, converted at a 58-percent rate from the floor. Senior Breon Harris (Niagara Falls, N.Y.) supplemented Sischo's efforts with 18 points, seven rebounds and six assists.

Wright finished with 16 points for Felician. Sophomore Dee-End McRae (Newark, N.J.) (nine rebounds) and Lewis (seven rebounds) scored 12 apiece.