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Wagner pulls off big upset, knocks off No. 18 UConn

Chattanooga, Nicholls and Albany also took down power conference foes

NCAA Basketball: Wagner at Cincinnati
Bashir Mason is the first star of 2016-17.
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

It didn’t take long for the first ranked team to fall to a mid-major.

No. 18 UConn bought itself a game against Wagner, and ultimately bought itself a 67-58 loss too. The Seahawks, picked to finish second in the NEC, held Rodney Purvis and Jalen Adams to 14 combined points, and the Huskies to 36 percent shooting overall.

Wagner didn’t light it up either (shooting just 38 percent), but got 15 point efforts from both Romone Saunders and Mike Aaman.

The Seahawks are coming off a 23-win season in which they knocked off St. Bonaventure in the NIT. With Mason making a splash on opening night, he might well be this year’s first “hot” coaching name.

Three other mid-majors also pulled the rug out from under power conference schools.

Chattanooga’s front court battered Tennessee as the Mocs downed the Vols 82-69 in Knoxville. Forwards Justin Tuoyo and Tre’ McLean combined for 43 points and 21 rebounds, illustrating why the Mocs are yet again a threat in the SoCon and elsewhere.

Albany jumped out to a 16-point lead against Penn State and looked to be in cruise control in the second half before a Nittany Lions rally. The Great Danes held on for a 87-81 win behind sophomore guard -and budding star - Joe Cremo, who put up 22 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. Albany also got big scoring nights from Dallas Ennema (20 points) and David Nichols (19 points).

Speaking of Nichols (and bad segues), the Nicholls Colonels kept BC in a sad place, knocking off the Eagles 79-73. North Texas graduate transfer DeAndre Harris made the best of his Nicholls debut, scoring 28 points and helping hold off BC’s second half rally.

Georgia Southern (N.C. State), Eastern Michigan (Pitt, double overtime) and Lehigh (Xavier), Norfolk State (Mississippi State), American (Maryland) and UT Martin (Ole Miss) all came up just short in their own respective upset bids.