OSWEGO, N.Y. – Cortland overcame an eight-point deficit in the final 10 minutes and the Red Dragon men's basketball team kept its SUNYAC playoff hopes alive with a 56-47 victory at Oswego.
Cortland finishes the regular season with a 17-8 overall record and a 10-8 SUNYAC mark. The Red Dragons are a half game ahead of Oneonta (9-8) for the sixth and final playoff spot. Cortland needs Oneonta to lose at home Saturday to Buffalo State in order to claim the sixth spot; if Oneonta wins, they would take the final spot behind the strength of a sweep of Cortland during the season.
Junior Grequan Carter (Queens/Humanities & The Arts), freshman Carrel Joseph (Port-au-Prince, Haiti/Deer Park (NY)) and sophomore Michael Kelly (Monroe/Burke Catholic) each reached a career high in points to lead the Red Dragons. Carter scored 15 points and grabbed five rebounds. Joseph scored 14 points and led the team with six boards and Kelly scored 11 points.
Oswego (16-9, 12-6 SUNYAC) was led by Brian Sortino's 18 points. Rashawn Powell scored 11 points and added six rebounds and Walter Sampson scored nine points and dished out three assists. Mark Candelario led the Lakers with eight rebounds.
Oswego led 40-32 after a Sortino 3-point play with 10:58 left, but the trio of Carter, Joseph and Kelly scored 22 of Cortland's 24 points to fuel the comeback. Kelly scored the first seven on a 3-pointer, a jumper and a driving reverse layup to pull Cortland within 40-39 with 7:27 left.
Oswego made a free throw at the 5:54 mark, but Joseph scored Cortland's next eight points during an 8-3 run. He tied the game on a layup at the 4:57 mark, and his tip-in with 4:17 left gave the Red Dragons the lead for good. He hit another shot with 3:22 left and, after Oswego's Alex Rawa made a 3-pointer, Joseph scored on a layup off a pick-and-roll pass from Carter with 2:39 left to put Cortland up three.
The Cortland lead grew to five on Blair Estarfaa's (Buffalo/Maryvale) pull-up jumper in the lane with 1:55 remaining. Neither team scored again until Sortino made a free throw with 45 seconds left, but the Red Dragons iced the game on the foul line as Joseph went 4-for-4 and Carter was 3-for-4 over the final 35 seconds.
Cortland led 21-14 midway through the first half, but Oswego came back to take a 28-26 halftime lead. The 40-32 Oswego advantage was the largest lead for either team until Cortland's final points. Both teams shot 38 percent from the field, but Cortland finished with a 13-6 advantage on the foul line and turned the ball over only seven times to Oswego's 14 giveaways.