By Matt Parrino
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — Coming off its first loss of the season, a 80-79 thriller against Molloy College on Nov. 10, the Daemen College men's basketball team looked to get back on track in the team's third game of a six-game road trip. After coming out cold from the floor, the Wildcats stormed back, and behind a 16-for-29 second-half shooting performance outlasted Indiana's Taylor University, 75-72.
Daemen (7-1) struggled from the line, going 12 of 23, and it almost cost them after holding a 10-point lead late in the game. The Wildcats were forced to make early adjustments when leading scorer Gerald Beverly was bottled up in the first half and shooters weren't knocking down shots from the perimeter.
Daemen associate head coach Mike Miranto (North Tonawanda/North Tonawanda High School) said that Daemen was able to contain Taylor's shooters better after the team switched to a 2-3 zone.
"After watching them on film we thought we could approach the game two different ways," he said. "We started off man to man and trapping on ball screens, but that didn't really phase them. So we changed to zone and that seemed to disrupt them a bit. Then we were able to get out in transition to end the half."
Daemen closed out the first half on a 13-2 run, taking away Taylor's momentum heading into halftime and changing the tone of the game.
Trojans guard Casey Coons couldn't miss in the first half, netting four 3-pointers to help Taylor get out to the early advantage. He finished with 25 points on 7 of 15 shooting — all of his made shots came from beyond the three-point arc.
For the Wildcats, junior guard Casey Sheehan showcased his skills and diversity on the court, leading Daemen with 21 points (17 in the second half). Miranto said that Sheehan's play helped carry the team in the second half.
"He's a very capable offensive player and he can fill it up on any given night," he said. "He's one of our top perimeter players."
Beverly finished with 16 points and six rebounds after the shaky first half. The sophomore has had a breakout season this year and is leading the team in points (17.7) and rebounds (10) per game.
Miranto said that Beverly has the ability to do anything he wants to do depending on how hard he wants to work.
"Every day at practice and every game is important for him," Miranto said. "He went down to New York City last weekend against two ECC Division 2 teams and dominated them down there. But it's a matter of having a workman-like attitude every time he steps out on the floor. When he has it he can dominate."
Next up for the Wildcats is Indian Wesleyan University, who is ranked No. 4 in NAIA Division 2 polls, according to Miranto. Tipoff is set for 3 p.m.