AMHERST, Mass. – With eight players gone from last year's NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 team, it's going to take some time for the Johnson & Wales University men's basketball team to find its identity. The Wildcats showed flashes at times in their season opener, but ultimately lost 74-63 to St. Lawrence in the Ken Wright Memorial Tournament, hosted by Amherst.
St. Lawrence: 2-0
Johnson & Wales: 0-1
Johnson & Wales found itself quickly down 10-2, but fought its way back into the game. The Wildcats pulled within 32-31 on an Anthony Jernigan (East Hartford, Conn.) three pointer with 2:36 left in the first half. Unfortunately, that's as close as the Wildcats would get the rest of the way. The Saints closed the half on a 5-0 run and expanded their lead to as many as 16 in the second half.
Jernigan led all players with 22 points – tying his career-high – and was also tops on the team with five rebounds. Jarell Lawson (Providence, RI) was next at 15 points and Randall Ferdinand (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) scored 10 points in his JWU debut.
The Wildcats made two more field goals than the Saints, but SLU was 16-of-21 from the free throw line and 8-of-20 from behind the arc. Comparatively, JWU shot 12 percent from three-point range (3-of-25) and went 6-of-7 from the charity stripe. St. Lawrence also had a 38-27 rebound margin.
Johnson & Wales will try to get its first win of the season on Saturday when it takes on Green Mountain College in the 1 p.m. consolation game.