McMINNVILLE, Ore. – Flying out of the gates, the State University of New York (SUNY) at Old Westbury Panthers foiled head coach Shanan Rosenberg's Linfield debut, beating the Wildcats 73-62 Saturday night at Ted Wilson Gymnasium in the second game of the Bon Appetit Classic.
Linfield freshman Jackson Gion (Fr., Morgan Hill, Calif.) led the way with 17 points and a team-high five assists. The Panthers' Tyrik Tucker pumped in a game-high 24 points and assisted on an acrobatic alley-oop dunk to P.J. Page in the second half.
Old Westbury jumped out to a 10-0 lead during the game's first seven minutes, thanks to a stifling defense and Linfield's slow start from the field. The Wildcats missed their first eight shots.
Gion pumped some life into the gym with a steal during a Panthers fast break, later hitting the first points for his side with a 3-pointer on the next possession.
The first nine Linfield points came on 3-point baskets from Gion, Adam Myren (Jr., Carmichael, Calif.) and Nick Cantonwine (Jr., Salem, Ore.). With 10:08 remaining in the half, Gion drove baseline to the basket and attempted a layup, only for it to be swatted into the Panther bench by Page. Linfield trailed Old Westbury 33-22 at the break.
Tucker led the Panthers with eight points in the first half. The Wildcats attempted 15 3-pointers, hitting five of them. Linfield struggled to get its offense going, committing 13 turnovers compared with seven for Old Westbury.
The Panthers shot 40 percent from the field to the Wildcats' 24 during the game's first 20 minutes and 45 to 31 percent for the game.
The second half began much like the first. The Panthers started on an 8-0 run through the first three minutes after a Ray Parker fast-break layup opened up a 41-22 advantage. Old Westbury weathered a couple of late surges with Linfield pulling to within nine points on a Gion layup with 44 seconds remaining. However, the Panthers eventually saw the game out, winning by double digits.
Wildcats center Chris Dirks (Jr., Hood River, Ore.) pulled down a team-high seven rebounds. Freshman Ryan Potter (Fr., Molalla, Ore.) had eight points and Tanner Brill (Fr., Longview, Wash.) scored five in their first collegiate contests. Linfield dropped to 0-1 on the season. The Wildcats unveiled eight new players.
AHEAD: The Bon Appetit Classic continues Sunday at Lewis & Clark College in Portland. Linfield faces Portland Bible at 5 p.m.
Frosh nets team-best 17 points
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