PITTSFORD, N.Y. - Justin Cooper (Pine Plains/Stissing Mountain) and James Morales (Mount Kisco/Fox Lane) each scored 20 points as Cortland defeated host St. John Fisher College, 79-69, in a non-league men's basketball game.
The Red Dragons improved to 7-2 with the victory and the Cardinals fell to 4-3. The teams were playing for the first time since Fisher defeated Cortland in December 2006 in a tournament at York College in Pennsylvania.
Cooper ended with 12 rebounds and five assists in addition to his 20 points for his fifth double-double of the season. He scored 15 of his 20 points in the second half. Morales made three 3-pointers and also led the team with three steals.
Andre Hampton (Bronx/Frederick Douglass Academy) scored a career-high 13 points, including 3-of-4 shooting from the 3-point arc, and matched his career best with six rebounds in 17 minutes off the bench. Michael Kelly (Monroe/Burke Catholic) added 11 points on 5-of-8 accuracy from the field and Zach Lydon (Elizaville/Stissing Mountain) scored seven points and blocked three shots.
Keegan Ryan paced the Cardinals with 17 points and also grabbed nine rebounds. He hit seven of his 10 shots from the field. Sammy Robinson poured in 11 points and Tyler English ended with 10 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.
Both teams shot nearly the same from the field - Cortland at 41 percent and Fisher at 40 percent - but the Red Dragons made 10 3-pointers to Fisher's seven, and turned the ball over only nine times compared to Fisher's 14.
Fisher led 31-25 with 7:53 left in the first half after an Alex Sausville jumper, but Cortland went on a 12-1 run over the next three and a half minutes to take a five-point lead. Kelly scored the final nine points of that stretch on three layups and a 3-pointer.
Cortland led by five at halftime and opened a 13-point lead twice in the second half, the last at 61-48 on a Morales trey with 10:29 remaining. The hosts, however, clawed back and eventually were within two at 67-65 on a Ryan layup with 6:44 left.
Morales hit one free throw with 5:58 remaining, and Hampton's 3-pointer with 4:45 on the clock put Cortland up by six. The closest the Cardinals got after that was five points with 3:20 left, but Kelly hit a layup at the 2:20 mark and Cooper sealed the win with four free throws in the final minute.
Cortland will face Widener University of Pennsylvania in the opening round of the Johns Hopkins Blue Jay Invitational on Monday, January 2, at 1 p.m. in Baltimore. The Red Dragons will then play either Cazenovia or Johns Hopkins the next day at either 1 or 3 p.m.