Posted on Thursday, January 28, 2021
NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. – The Westminster College men's basketball team won its highly anticipated season-opener, 99-77, over new Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC) member Franciscan University at home Wednesday night.
Wednesday's game was the first Westminster intercollegiate varsity game in 320 days due to the worldwide pandemic.
Three Titans registered a double-double, led by senior Daniel Ritter (North Lima, OH / South Range) who scored 31 points (including a game-high four made threes) and grabbed 10 rebounds – both career-highs. Junior Tyler James (Youngstown, OH / Warren JFK), a transfer from Penn State Shenango, had 13 points and 10 rebounds with a game-high plus-minus of +32. All-PAC First Team senior Isaac Stamatiades (Elkridge, MD / Avalon) earned 12 points and 12 boards.
Westminster (1-0, 1-0 PAC) quickly took a double-digit lead (13-3) when Stamatiades made a layup less than five minutes into the game (15:42). After Franciscan (1-1, 1-1 PAC) cut the lead back to single-digits (13-5), the Titans regained a double-digit lead on their next possession and maintained it for the rest of the half. Westminster had a half-high 19 point-lead twice, with the latest coming at 2:38. The Barons outscored the Titans 7-1 following that 19-point lead and Westminster led 53-40 at halftime. Ritter led all scorers with 15 points at intermission.
The Titans led 65-48, following a three by Ritter, six minutes into the second half. Franciscan started to battle back with a 14-5 run to the cut Westminster's lead to eight points, however, that would be the closest the Barons would get for the rest of the game. The Titans left no doubt as they outscored the Barons 18-5 in the final five minutes.
A total of nine Titans put points on the board, including four newcomers. In addition to the aforementioned James, first-year Reese Leone (Beloit, OH / West Branch) finished in double figures with 13 points and dished out three assists, while classmate Andrew Clark (New Middleton, OH / Springfield Local) finished with eight points and nine rebounds, tied for a game-high with four assists, and pocketed a team-high two steals. Rounding out the first-year scorers was Glenn Morrison (Delran, NJ / Delran) who scored a bucket. Sophomore Austin O'Hara (Girard, OH / Girard) added eight points and five boards, while classmate Alex Mullen (Pittsburgh, PA / Bethel Park) contributed with six points. Also putting points on the board for Westminster were senior Kai Skinner (Titusville, PA / Titusville) (4) and classmate Anthony Ritter (North Lima, OH / South Range) (2).
For the game, the Titans outshot Franciscan 50.0% (35-70) to 38.5% (30-78) and dominated the glass with a 55-33 advantage. Westminster's 99 points were the most since they beat Penn State Beaver, 99-61 in the 2017-18 season.
Westminster is next scheduled to play at Bethany on Saturday, Jan. 30 at 1 p.m.
For more Westminster Athletics news, go to westminster.edu/athletics.
*Written by Nathan LaRiccia, Sports Information Director