Local products impress on college basketball opening weekend

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While our local college standouts continue to shine on the gridiron this fall, there are a dozen or so student-athletes who opened the college basketball season this past weekend at various universities across the country.

Under the direction of Sean Miller at Arizona, the 12th-ranked Wildcats defeated Pacific 79-61 on Friday night. Redshirt junior Kadeem Allen (New Hanover) got the start at guard for Arizona and went 4-of-5 from the floor and 5-of-6 from the free throw line to finish with 13 points. The former National Junior College Player of the Year also recorded five assists, two steals and four rebounds in his Arizona debut.

On Monday, No. 12 Arizona pulled away from Bradley 90-60 in Tucson, Arizona. Allen had three points, three assists and four rebounds.

T.J. Willams and Tyre Gathright are both Ashley graduates playing for North Georgia. Photo courtesy- North Georgia Basketball
T.J. Willams and Tyre Gathright are both Ashley graduates playing for North Georgia. Photo courtesy- North Georgia Basketball

Fresh off two straight NCAA Tournament appearances, the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers dropped a pair of games at the Rainbow Classic in Hawaii. Elijah Wilson (Laney) struggled from the field in a 73-56 setback to Nevada, hitting just 2 of 13 for six points and seven rebounds in the season opener. The junior from Wilmington had 12 points on Sunday, but the Chanticleers fell 74-63 to Hawaii.

The University of North Georgia men’s basketball team suffered an 83-75 setback to Emmanuel on Saturday night in UNG’s Memorial Hall. Junior T.J. Williams (Ashley) led the Nighthawks with a game-high 20 points to go with eight rebounds. Freshman Tyre Gathright (Ashley) had 13 points in his college debut.

Two local products took the floor in Saturday’s contest between Averett University and East Tennessee State. Junior transfer Nigel Holley (New Hanover) had four points in six minutes of action for ETSU, while freshman Saadiq Johnson (West Brunswick) went 0 for 5 from the field in 13 minutes for the Cougars.

Hampden-Sydney basketball came up just three points short of NCAA Division I school Longwood University on Saturday night in a 71-68 setback. Nick Chase (Coastal Christian) contributed seven points, four rebounds, three assists, and two steals. Freshman Gray Cheers (West Brunswick) also made his college debut for Hampden-Sydney and finished with five points and four rebounds.

On the women’s side, Jada Bacchus (Ashley) recorded a double-double in her first collegiate game for Mount Olive College, with 13 points and 11 rebounds, to help guide the Trojans in a 78-47 victory over Queens University.

Tiana Edwards (Laney) also began her sophomore season with nine points off the bench for Winston-Salem State, but the Rams fell 75-61 to the Pitt-Johnstown Mountain Cats.