Second Half Comeback Comes up Just Short as Ithaca Falls to Bard, 83-81

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ITHACA, N.Y. – The Ithaca College men's basketball trailed by as many as 13 points, and 10 at halftime, but mounted a valiant second half comeback that came up just short as the Bombers fell to visit Bard College, 83-81, in a Liberty League contest inside Ben Light Gymnasium. IC is now 2-3 on the year and 1-1 in the Liberty League, while Bard improves to 4-3 and 2-0.

Junior Riley Thompson once again paced the Ithaca offense with 26 points on 7-of-22 shooting and went a perfect 11-for-11 at the free throw line. Thompson also pulled down seven rebounds. Freshman Skylar Sinon notched 17 points and made 5-of-8 attempts from 3-point range with four assists off the bench.

Junior Sebastian Alderete also reached double figures in points with 15, to go along with seven boards, while senior Peter Ezema nearly recorded a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds.

In what was a high-scoring affair at the end of regulation, started slowly as Ithaca held a 4-2 edge nearly three minutes into the contest. Bard then hit a 3-pointer at the 17:17 mark to spark a 15-4 run over the next 3:26 to build a 17-8 lead with 13:43 to play in the half.

After an Ithaca timeout, the Bombers fought back to a 20-14 spread by the midway point on four points from Ezema and a pair of free throws by Alderete. Bard responded to the short Bomber run and went back up by 10 points at 29-19 with just under six minutes left.

The Bombers pulled back to within six points at 32-26 (4:26) on a 3-pointer from sophomore Bryan Karl and baskets from Alderete and Thompson, but the Raptors answered with six straight to establish a 12-point edge, 38-26, just 1:09 later.

Bard held on to its double-digit lead for the remainder of the half and went into the locker room with a 44-34 lead.

The Bombers came out of intermission looking like a new team, as they opened with an 11-0 run in 2:07 to take a 45-44 lead. During the spurt, Ezema, Sinon and Thompson hit consecutive 3-pointers in 49 seconds.

Bard was forced to burn two timeouts during that stretch, and after the second stoppage, the Raptors made three free throws to regain the lead, 47-45, with 15:58 left in regulation.

Ithaca then scored nine of the next 11 points to establish its largest lead of the contest at 54-49 with just under 14 minutes left. An Alderete triple staked the Bombers to their five-point cushion.

The Raptors tied things up less than a minute later, but back-to-back 3-pointers from Sinon vaulted Ithaca back on top, 60-56, at the 11:50 mark. Ithaca's lead with short-lived, however, as Bard connected twice from distance to jump back on top, 62-60.

Over the next seven minutes, Ithaca and Bard jockeyed for the lead and were tied on four separate occasions up until a Raptor lay-in with 3:33 remaining to put Bard ahead, 76-74.

Bard would hold onto its lead for the rest of the game, but not without some drama, as Sinon drilled a 3-pointer and was fouled with 1.6 seconds on the clock to pull IC to within an 83-81 deficit. Sinon intentionally missed the ensuing free throw, and Thompson corralled the rebound, but his baseline shot was blocked out of bounds to end the game.

IC went 26-for-68 (38.2%) from the field, while Bard shot 26-for-63 (41.3%). Ithaca made two more 3-pointers than Bard (10-to-8), but the Raptors held a plus-four advantage at the free throw line (23-to-19). Bard also outrebounded the Bombers, 51-38, in the contest.

Ithaca returns to action on Tuesday, December 4 for a 7 p.m. non-conference tip against Wells College inside Ben Light Gymnasium.