What does the Westminster College men's basketball team know about itself today after the first two games of the season?
"What I learned is we're a team that is never going to give up," said Mohawk graduate Brian Fadden, one of two seniors on the Titans' roster in the Buzz Ridl Classic.
A slow start put the Titans in a deep hole against a physical and talented Baldwin-Wallace College team Saturday night, and they were unable to dig out.
Despite surpassing the century mark for the second night in a row, the Titans dropped a 133-113 decision, marking the fifth straight year in which the host team has failed to win the season-opening tournament.
"The good thing is that we're young and we're going to get a lot better," said senior Mark DeMonaco, who led six Titans in double figures with 26 points. He also had six assists and three steals.
The New Castle High product earned a spot on the all-tournament team along with Fadden, who finished with 15 points and five assists.
"Last year whenever things got bad we had a tendency to give up on each other. That's not going to happen with this team," Fadden said.
B-W, ranked among the top 30 Division III teams in the nation, got off to a blazing start while Westminster struggled to find its touch.
For the game, the Yellow Jackets connected on 66 percent of their field goal attempts (52 of 79) and dominated the boards with 72 rebounds to just 29 for the Titans.
Westminster trailed 65-50 at halftime, but played the Yellow Jackets on near-equal terms for the final 20 minutes.
"If we can stay with a team like that, we're going to be okay," said Westminster coach Larry Ondako, who is counting on DeMonaco and Fadden to lead by example.
Sophomores Craig Hannon (Union), Chauncey Whitlow and Nick Adams collected 17, 14 and 10 points, respectively while 6-foot-8 freshman Steve Bielich had 13 points and gave the Titans a target inside.
"We're so young. There's still a lot of teaching to do," Ondako said.
"We made some mistakes, but I'm pleased that we kept playing hard."
DeMonaco, who surpassed the 1,000-point milestone Friday night, was honored in a special pregame ceremony Saturday night
Preseason All-American Tori Davis led Baldwin-Wallace in the title game with 22 points and 15 rebounds yet he was not named to the all-tournament team, which was selected by the coaches.
Westminster returns to action at 7 p.m. tomorrow at Pitt-Bradford.