OWINGS MILLS, Md. – With a team-best 19 points and 11 rebounds from Brian Clarke (Miramar, Fla.) men's basketball got their 2012-13 season off to a great start as they defeated first-time opponent Franciscan University (Ohio) by the final of 87-71 Saturday afternoon on the campus of Stevenson University as part of the 1st Annual D3Hoops.com National Invitational.
The Beacons, who now stand at 1-0 on the year also achieved a milestone, with Saturday's victory marking the 300th win in the program's history. The win also moved head coach Charlie Titus one win closer to hitting the 300 wins plateau. He now stands at 281 career victories as the leader of UMB men's basketball.
In Saturday's match-up, Clarke came off the bench and finished 8-for-13 from the field and 3-for-5 from the line. Of his 11 boards, five were on the offensive side of the court. Right behind him was newcomer Rahshjeem Benson (Boston, Mass.) who also posted a double-double. The junior closed out his first college game with UMB with 18 points and 11 boards.
Jahleel Moise (Brockton, Mass.) got the start in Saturday's match-up and finished third on the team with 16 points after going 8-for-10 from the floor. The freshman also managed a game-high three blocks, while senior Mike Mitchell, Jr. (Dorchester, Mass.) made his return to the Beacons starting line-up to finish with seven steals and eight points.
Franciscan (0-2) had two 20+ scorers in Tim Schenk (20 pts.) and Christian Duke (23 pts.). Joseph Rine finished third on the team with 17 points. Duke, who was a perfect 7-for-7 at the line, also managed a team-best seven boards.
As a team the Beacons shot an impressive 51.4% (36-for-70) from the floor in what was a shootout from start to finish. Franciscan was also solid from the field as they shot 40.4% (23-for-57) on the day. The Beacons also converted the 23 Franciscan turnovers into 21 points, while the bench picked-up some slack scoring 36 points in the contest. In the paint UMB had their way with their opponents with 62 points coming from the Beacons big-men.
In the opening minutes of the contest, both teams came out firing looking to gain the early advantage. The Beacons gained the early advantage jumping out to an 8-2 lead. Franciscan would battle back however and tie the game a total of four times in the first 10 minutes of play.
The two teams would continue to battle back-and-forth, but with time getting set to expire UMass would go into the locker room holding a two-point lead following a Benson jumper (39-37).
After the break, UMass came out red-hot and quickly extended their slim lead to as much as 10, which they hit twice following a jumper from Vinny DeLucia (Miami, Fla.) and back-to-back free throws from Clarke.
Despite the early run by the Beacons, Franciscan used a run of their own to cut UMB's lead to one. Even with their opponents right on their heels, the Beacons never surrendered their lead and with key baskets were able to gain some distance. With less than six minutes to play, UMB's offense began to fire on all cylinders and pushed their lead to as much as 20 and never looked back.
Men's Basketball returns to action tomorrow when they take on the host Mustangs of Stevenson University at 2 p.m.