COLORADO SPRINGS – Senior guard Jontrell Herman lit up Reid Arena on Friday night for 34 points, matching a career high to lead the Johnson & Wales men's basketball team to an 85-81 win over Wisconsin-River Falls in the Wildcats' 2018-19 season opener.
Fellow senior Andrew Romero III poured in 24 points as the JWU (1-0) starting backcourt combined for 58 to begin the 2018 Tiger Tip-Off Tournament at Colorado College.
The Wildcats jumped out to a 10-point lead nine minutes in on back-to-back jumpers by Herman (Duck Hill, Miss.). Free throws by Romero (Northglenn, Colo.) in the final minutes of the second half extended the gap to 14 before the Wildcats settled for a 40-30 halftime edge. JWU totaled 18 points off 11 UWRF turnovers in the first frame and finished with 28 points off 20 Falcon turnovers.
UWRF stormed back in the second half, using a 6-0 run midway through the second stanza to take a six-point lead with 7:52 to play. A 3 by Romero sparked an immediate rally by the Wildcats, who went on a 7-1 run to regain the lead for good.
Along with his 34 points, which tied a career high he had as a sophomore against Embry-Riddle in 2016, Herman had eight rebounds, four assists and four steals to lead JWU to a win in its season opener for the first time since 2015.
Senior Bailey Stephens joined Herman and Romero in double figures with 11 points while Jordan Miles added 6, Taka Hall 4, Charles Young 3, Kevin Avalos 2 and Dakota Patton 1. King Grant-Perry grabbed six rebounds and had one block.
The Wildcats knocked down 42 percent of their 3-pointers (8-of-19) and went 27-for-38 at the free-throw line (71 percent).