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Brandon Fox recorded a double-double but it wasn’t enough for the Wilmington University men’s basketball team in its 2012-13 season opener, as the Wildcats fell to Southern New Hampshire, 70-55, in the first game of the SNHU Tip-Off Tournament in the SNHU Fieldhouse on Friday night.
Fox led the team with 16 points and 11 rebounds, but the Wildcats (0-1 overall) shot only 39.6 percent from the field and 36.4 percent from three-point territory, losing the season opener for the fifth straight season. The last win in the season opener came in the 2007-08 season against Penn State-Abington, 71-48.
Southern New Hampshire (1-0 overall) had three players in with double-digit points and shot 45.2 percent from the field, including a 19-for-33 (57.6 percent) mark in the opening 20 minutes.
The Wildcats jumped out to an early 5-0 lead in the game as senior Isiah Mason scored on a layup and Fox hit a three-pointer at the one minute mark on back-to-back positions. They extended their lead to as many as six at 8-2 in the first 3:15 of the game after Mason hit the second straight three-pointer for the visitors.
But that would the largest lead of the game for the Wildcats, as the Penmen eventually whittled the Wilmington lead down to two at 10-8 and tied the match at 10-10 5:07 into the first half. A layup by CJ Marriro at 5:31 gave the Penmen the lead for good in the game.
The Penmen raised its lead to as large a 19 to close the first half, as Max Taylor nailed a three-pointer with seven seconds remaining to go into the half leading 46-27 at home.
The Wildcats made a 7-0 run early in the second half to cut the deficit to 14 at 56-42 with 10:36 remaining in regulation. Newcomer Dusan Kojic got the rally started with a layup with 13:54 to play, followed by a jumper from Shaquille Monroe-Gaskin with 12:27 left, forcing Southern New Hampshire to call a timeout.
Monroe-Gaskin hit a pair of free throws with 11:20 left to play to cut it to 56-41 before Mason converted the second foul shot with 10:36 to play to make it 56-42. But that would be as close as the Wildcats would get in the second half.
Kojic was the only other Wildcat to reach double figures, scoring 11 points in his Wildcat debut. James Pee tallied nine points while Mason ended with eight. Dennis and Fox each dished out four assists on the night.
The Wildcats remain in Manchester for another game, squaring off against National Association of basketball Coaches (NABC) preseason ranked No. 10 Franklin Pierce on Saturday starting at 5:30 p.m. at the SNHU Fieldhouse.
Published: Friday, November 9, 2012 - Manchester, N.H.