NORTHFIELD, Vt. – The Norwich University men's basketball team fell behind early and despite a valiant effort could not recover as it opened up 2020 with a 70-58 road loss at the hands of Elms College on Thursday evening at the Maguire Center.
Norwich (2-9) appeared to set a strong defensive tone in the very early going registering a steal and a block in its first two defensive series. Unfortunately, those defensive stands did not ignite the offense which struggled as the team made just one of its first 11 field goal attempts resulting in a 16-3 deficit after the first seven minutes of action.
Elms (4-8) would expand its lead to 24-7 following a layup by Ahmed Connor.
The Cadets would rely on some of its freshman class to help rekindle some momentum as guard Dale Green (Jacksonville, Fla.) and forward Jordan Hunt (Alexandria, Va.) provided some offensive spark in the opening half. Each player notched five points off the bench to help reduce the lead to 33-20 by halftime.
Norwich quickly reduced the deficit to 11 points at 36-25 coming out of halftime following a three-pointer by sophomore guard Caleb Casinas (Aiea, Hawaii). However, after another triple by Casinas made it 41-29, the hosts proceeded to go on an 8-0 run to build its largest lead of the game at 49-29 with 15:05 to play.
Despite the large deficit, the Cadets continued to battle as sophomore forward Donovan Lewis Jr. (Savannah, Ga.) and senior forward Dan Bertrand (Saugus, Mass.) spearheaded a comeback. Norwich produced an 11-0 run over the next 4:23 to whittle the deficit down to 49-40. Lewis Jr. scored six points during the run while Bertrand notched two points, a steal, an assist, and a rebound.
After trading baskets over the next four minutes, three-pointers from Hunt and sophomore guard Spencer Conatser (Reno, Nev.) cut the lead to just seven points at 58-51 with 5:56 remaining.
Despite great effort in the closing minutes, the offense sputtered through another cold stretch missing nine of its last 12 attempts from the floor as Elms converted enough of its shots to ice the game.
Norwich out-produced Elms in the paint by a 26-22 edge while enjoying a 25-12 advantage in bench scoring over the hosts. The Cadets struggled from the charity stripe hitting just 5-of-12 (41.7%) free throws while Elms converted 12-of-15 (80%) freebies.
Casinas and Hunt led the Cadets with a team-high 14 points, with Hunt adding four rebounds to his season-high scoring output. Junior swingman Kyle Booth (Northfield, Vt.) grabbed a team-high 9 rebounds while also blocking a pair of shots. Conatser hauled in a career-high seven boards to go with his seven points.
The Cadets will continue their four-game road stretch at MCLA on Saturday when they tip off against the Trailblazers at 1 p.m.