ONEONTA, NY - Hartwick came up four points short against Empire 8 foe Utica College with a 64-68 loss tonight at Lambros Arena. The Hawks, who entered the game without two starters due to illness, fought back from a 13-point second-half deficit to take the lead with six minutes left. The Pioneers clung to a one-point edge with under three minutes to play but a 5-0 run in a 43-second span made it a six-point game and the visitors hung on for the victory.
Junior Brandon LaForest (Cohoes, NY/Cohoes) reached the 1,000-point mark for his career in the game. He entered the contest with 985 in his three seasons with the Hawks and he reached the milestone with 9:46 remaining in the game on a free throw. He would finish the game with 16 points, a game-high eight assists, four rebounds, and three three-pointers.
Patrick Garey (Johnson City, NY/Johnson City) and Justin Carruthers (Greenwich, NY/Greenwich) also reached double figures for the Hawks. Garey netted a game-high 18 points with a game-best four three-pointers. Carruthers contributed 11 points. Austin Haskell (Kirkwood, NY/Susquehanna Valley) added seven points and seven boards.
'Wick's overall record drops to 8-14 and its Empire 8 mark to 5-8. Utica College improves to 13-9 and 8-6.
Neither team would lead by more than four points through the opening 12 minutes of the first half with the lead changing hands four times. The Pioneers took their biggest lead of the half, 30-23, with under two minutes to go before they took a 30-26 advantage into halftime.
A 16-7 start to the second half handed the visitors a 46-33 lead with 14 and a half minutes remaining in the game. 'Wick trailed by 10 with under nine minutes left but the Hawks roared back with an 11-0 run over the next three minutes to take the lead, 57-56. Garey registered eight points in the run, which included a pair of three-pointers.
The score was tied at 59-all before a Utica free throw with exactly three minutes on the clock put the Pioneers up for good. The Hawks cut the deficit to three with 35 ticks left on a Carruthers' free throw before another UC shot from the line accounted for the final point three seconds later. The Hawks had two more trips on the offensive end but couldn't convert and the Pioneers claimed the win.
Utica was led by Ivan Iton with a double-double of 13 points and 13 rebounds on the night. Avery Coston was the only other Pioneer in double figures with 10.
Hartwick next travels to Sage on Tuesday for a 6 p.m. meeting with the Gators.