Utica Knocks Off Empire 8 Preseason Favorite Hartwick in Conference Opener
Utica 75, Hartwick 72 - Men's Basketball Final
Oneonta, NY (12/4/2012) – The Utica College men's basketball team snapped host Hartwick College's four game winning streak after a 75-72 victory in the Empire 8 Conference opener for both squads Tuesday night at Lambros Arena. Utica junior transfer Connor Maisch (Kingston, NY/John A. Coleman) netted a career-high 25 points to help UC win its second straight and advance its record to 3-3 overall on the year.
Three other players scored in double-figures for UC including sophomore point guard Aaron Nevins (Buffalo, NY/Canisius) (16), senior shooting guard Matt Baldwin (Gloversville, NY/Gloversville) (13) and junior forward Chris Jeffers (Albany, NY/Bishop Maginn) (10). Jeffers also chipped in with a game-high 11 rebounds to record his third double-double of the young season. The Pioneers also snapped a six game losing streak against the Hawks which dated back to the 2008-09 season.
"I'm extremely proud of our effort tonight. We went on the road and got the job done," said fifth year Head Coach Chris Connolly. "We showed that we can go toe-to-toe with a very good Hartwick team. This was a great way for us to open up conference play and it will give us a nice confidence boost headed into Friday night's game against an unbeaten Stevens team."
With the score knotted at 9-9 with 11:39 to go in the first half, the Hawks when on an 11-4 run to take a seven point advantage, 20-13, with 8:31 left before halftime. Hartwick pushed its lead to 10 points, 30-20, with 3:48 remaining but the Pioneers responded with an 11-3 run to trail by just two as the first half clock expired.
UC kept its momentum rolling in the second half by exploding with a 23-6 run to stretch their lead to as many as 15 points with 13:49 left in the contest. Maisch led UC with 13 points in the second half push. 'Wick cut its deficit to single digits, 56-47, with just under ten minutes left to play, but the Pioneers answered right back with a 3-pointer from Baldwin to extend their lead back to 12 points.
Despite not making a field goal in the final 4:31 of play the Pioneers were able to knock down 9-of-12 free throws in the closing 3:03 of action to hang on for the three point Empire 8 victory.
Jared Suderley, of nearby West Canada Valley High School, netted 18 points and grabbed six rebounds but the Pioneers held the conference stand out to just 5-of-17 shooting from the floor. Kyle Bradley chipped in with 15 points and six rebounds, while Anthony Kane added 11 points and sex boards for the Hawks.
Jeff Ward (Ossining, NY/Ossining High School) grabbed nine rebounds, scored seven points and blocked three shots for UC. Utica knocked down seven 3-pointers and outrebounded the home squad 43-26 on the afternoon.
The Pioneers return to the hardwood on Friday night when they host "A Game for Brooks Miles" against visiting and nationally-ranked No. 25 Stevens Institute of Technology (5-0). The contest, which begins at 8 p.m., will benefit the Faxton St. Luke's Healthcare Foundation and the Utica branch of the Children's Miracle Network.
The Pioneers will wear "A Game for Brooks Miles" T-Shirts during warm-ups and throughout both the men's and women's games there will be a 50/50 raffle, T-Shirt give-a-ways, and a bake sale. Charles A. Gaetano Construction Corporation has generously donated the warm-up T-shirts for the Pioneers. Utica College's Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) will be on hand to help staff the event.
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