Thomas, Raiders knock down Daniel Webster in Midnight Classic

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Freshman Kwane Thomas thrived in the late hour, scoring 11 points off the bench in his college debut.
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Nashua, NH – There has been a number of memorable meetings between Rivier and Daniel Webster on the men's basketball court through the years. You can now add the 2012-13 season opener – the most unique of its kind – to that list. The first Division III basketball game in the nation was played here in Nashua, New Hampshire - the historic home of the presidential primary - Thursday morning at 12:01 am between the visiting Rivier University Raiders and the Daniel Webster College Eagles.

Rivier's Brian Troy (Senior/Keene, NH) scored a team high 14 points and freshman Kywane Thomas (Hartford, CT) added 11 points guiding the Raiders past the Daniel Webster College Eagles, 68-62 in front of a record crowd at Vagge gymnasium. Junior Tom Poitras (Bow, NH) recorded 9 points and 7 rebounds in the contest while freshman Edward Soucie (South Ryegate, VT) contributed 9 points off the bench.

The contest marks the beginning of the 2012-13 season across the nation as part of the first "Midnight Tip Off" held before a standing-room only estimated crowd of 511 Thursday morning at Mario Vagge Gymnasium.

The 34-year-record crowd was treated to tense opening minutes as each team endeavored to find their footing. The Eagles and the Raiders traded body blows until the Raiders' superior three point shooting put them up 37-25 at the half. Rivier finished the first stanza by going 7-14 from beyond the arc; good for 50%. Conversely, Daniel Webster went 2-10 from three point range despite several good looks from the perimeter. Rivier's Nick Walch (Junior/Dedham, MA) gathered 14 total rebounds - and 9 points - highlighting a prevailing performance by the Raiders in the paint. The Raiders snatched 50 rebounds during the course of the game; 14 more than the Eagles' 36.

However, Daniel Webster clawed their way back into the game in the second half thanks in large part to Junior guard David Feinstein's (Londonderry, NH) team high 18 points – all of which were scored in the final period. Daris Crosby (Columbia, SC) - also a Junior - finished the game with 13 points for the Eagles. Senior swingman John Hixon (Springfield, MA) chipped in 10 points of his own to go with a team high 10 rebounds to collect his first double/double of the 2012-13 season. Swarming defensive pressure and a handful of key shots had the Eagles within four points with eight minutes to go, but that was as close as they would come. The valiant comeback effort was stifled (despite its voracity) and the Eagles could not make up the last few points in time to salvage a result.

The game marked the 38th all-time meeting between the two schools dating to 1992. The friendly crosstown rivalry has evolved into a battleground for both programs despite their allegiance to different conferences.

The Rivier Raiders begin their 2012-2013 campaign at 1-0 and will play their next game against Sarah Lawrence at home this Friday evening. The Eagles will start the young 2012-13 season at 0-1 and they will play Anna Maria at the Herb Kenny tip-off tournament this Friday at Wesleyan College.