Men’s Basketball: Cadets bounce back from double-digit deficit, top Rivier in conference clash


Game Recap: Men’s Basketball | 12/7/2022 9:53:00 PM

NASHUA, N.H. – The Norwich University men’s basketball team earned a thrilling 68-61 win over Rivier University in the Cadets’ Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) opener on Wednesday night at Muldoon Gymnasium, after falling behind by double-figures early in the contest.

Four Cadets reached double-digits, spearheaded by Jalen Olivero’s (Holyoke, Mass.) 16-point, 10-board showcase. Owen Liss (West Suffield, Conn.) was just behind with 15 points, while Donovan Lewis Jr. (Savannah, Ga.) posted 11 points.  Norwich saw significant minutes off the bench from Leonard Brice (Denton, Texas.), who knocked down a pair of treys en route to a 10-point performance in 13 minutes.

The Raiders got out to a swift start, building a 5-0 lead in the span of 20 seconds before an Olivero bomb put Norwich on the board.  The Cadets limped in finding much success offensively from that point, as back-to-back baskets from Nikolas Pignone capped an 17-2 run that gave the Raiders their largest lead of 17.

A subsequent slam from Lewis Jr. helped Norwich turn on the gas and keep within striking distance, as a 34-20 Rivier lead with 3:31 remaining was quickly evaporated by a 14-0 run before the halftime break.

Norwich began to take control in the opening minutes of the second stanza, as a long-range shot from Olivero gave the Cadets an edge for the ensuing 11 minutes.  Nesta Roberts knotted things up for Rivier at 57-all, before the Cadets embarked on an 11-3 run to scoop up their first GNAC victory of the 2022-23 season.

“The kids really battled.  We put ourselves in quite a hole, spotting them a 17-point lead midway through the first half.  Proud of the way the kids stayed together,” Head Coach Paul Booth said.  “Leonard Brice stepped up big time in the first half.  Without him we do not win the game. Jalen Olivero. Donovan Lewis Jr., and Owen Liss had great second halves.  Good to get the first league win.”

Norwich will look to pick up a crucial GNAC win on Saturday, Dec. 10, to close out the month of December, hosting Albertus Magnus College in a 3:00 p.m. showdown.