#8 Concord def. #9 Alderson Broaddus, 76-65
WHEELING – First-team All-Mountain East Conference forward Daniel Rahama scored a game-high 29 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to help eighth-seeded Concord University pull away from ninth-seeded Alderson-Broaddus in the game’s final six minutes and record a 76-65 victory in the opening round of the league’s annual men’s basketball tournament here Wednesday evening at WesBanco Arena.
“When he came into our program two years ago he made an immediate impact,” said Concord coach Todd May. “We talk with our guys about being everyday guys. He brings it every single day. He raises the level of his teammates. He’s a leader, a great person and he was special tonight for us for sure.”
The double-double was Rahama’s team-leading 12th of the season. He also combined with teammate J.J. Harper to score 12 of the Mountain Lions final 18 points as they pulled away from the Battlers with an 18-10 spurt in the game’s last 6:46.
“Just being a guy with experience it’s what you have to do as a player when you get the opportunity,” Rahama said. “It’s my second year here, but my fifth playing college basketball. I’ve tried to learn from my old school and here to be a good leader and to do what I have to do and what I want us to do as a team to get a win.”
Veteran A-B coach Stephen Dye admits Rahama was a problem for his team’s defense all evening.
“He’s experienced and as coaches we love that,” Dye said. “You need those floor leaders in tough situations on the floor. He’s been in a lot of tough situations over his five years of playing.
“He’s fun to watch. Now, I don’t like watching him when I’m coaching against him, but I really like watching him when I’m not. He just plays the game the right way. He’s tough, hard-nosed and very physical. My guys know that. They talk about him and have a lot of respect for him.”
A-B struggled to shoot the ball for much of the game. The Battlers finished just 34.8 percent (24-of-69) from the field, including just 7-of-25 (28 percent) from long range. Concord also outscored A-B in the paint 48-34.
“It was a tough game for us,” Dye said. “We obviously didn’t play our best. It was a very physical game and I thought we battled, but we just didn’t have our A game today. Thirty-four percent from the field is not typically us. We struggled from the 3-point line and we knew coming in it was going to be a battle in the paint and we just didn’t get it done. Getting outscored 48-34 in the paint is pretty much the story of the game.”
Harper finished with 11 points and eight rebounds for the Mountain Lions who improved to 15-14 overall and earned the right to advance to Friday’s quarterfinal round against top-seeded West Liberty (25-3) at 6 p.m. Concord also got 11 points from Ethan Heller and eight points apiece from both Jevon Laidler and Amare Smith.
“It was a really good college basketball game,” May said. “Give credit to A-B and coach Dye. They were down a few bodies, but they came out and jumped on us early. I thought our guys did a great job of responding. It was a close game at the half and for much of the second half, but we were able to extend the lead late and I think that started with our defense. We did a phenomenal job of holding that team to 35 percent shooting and on the glass where were plus five. That was a key.”
A-B, which finished its season at 11-17, got 16 points from Jalen Knott, 13 points and 12 rebounds from Jon King, 12 points from Coryon Rice and 10 from Sirr Hughes.
“This game hurt to be honest,” Knott said. “This is the game everyone wanted. We felt like we were better than our seeding and to go out and perform like we did tonight was disappointing.”
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