Second Half Comeback Secures NYU Men's Basketball's First Win Under Dagan Nelson

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The New York University men's basketball team, opening the 2018-19 season under new Head Coach Dagan Nelson, traveled to Purchase, NY, on Friday, November 9, and defeated the host Panthers 93-88.

The Violets trailed by 12, 43-31, at halftime and by as many as 15 points late in the first half. However, the Violets overcame the deficit with a strong second half to give Nelson a victory in his head-coaching debut at NYU.

"We starting attacking the rim in the second half," Nelson explained. "It's a testament to our toughness, staying the course and playing the full 40 minutes." 

NYU trailed 53-40 early in the second half, but the Violets went on a 15-2 run to knot the score at 55-55. Then, with the Violets trailing 68-67, Alex Casieri hit a pair of free throws, Bobby Hawkinson hit three more and NYU never trailed again.  

Casieri, Hawkinson and Jule Brown each finished with 21 points for the Violets, while Cade Hoppe added 11. Casieri went 4-for-6 from behind the arc, while Brown was 3-for-5. Overall, the Violets shot 44.4% from three-point range and 51.8% from the field.

Hawkinson connected on 6-of-9 from the field and finished with a team-high seven rebounds.

"Jule played as well as you can possible play. He was a great leader out on the floor tonight," Nelson said. "Alex played like a junior, not a freshman, and Bobby showed real toughness on the glass and was a major difference for us on the defensive end." 

Due to injury, the Violets played without their top three returning scorers: Ethan Feldman, Dom Cristiano and Jimmy Martinelli.  

"It feels great to get our first game out of way and come away with a win," Nelson concluded. "I'm excited about what this team can become when we are fully healthy."  

The Violets return to the hardwood next weekend when they host the NYU Tip-Off Tournament at the Sportsplex in Manhattan. The squad's opening-round opponent will be Sarah Lawrence College on Saturday, November 17, at 5:00 pm.