Red-Hot Second Half Propels Ithaca Past Ursinus, 95-77

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DAYTONA, Fla. – The Ithaca College men's basketball team turned a nine-point halftime deficit into an 18-point victory, 95-77, over Ursinus College on the campus of Embry-Riddle as part of the Land of Magic Tournament in Daytona, Fla. on Sunday afternoon, December 30. Ithaca, which is now 5-4 on the season, scored 61 second half points and shot 67.6% (23-of-34) from the field over the final 20 minutes.

The Bombers trailed Ursinus, 43-34, after the first half and went down by 11 points before the ball was put into play in the second half on a technical foul. IC answered with an 8-0 run by the 17:22 mark as four different Bombers contributed points during the spurt to pull to within three at 45-42.

IC then took a 54-53 advantage with 12:43 to play on a layup by freshman George Sikoryak III. After a 55-55 deadlock 30 seconds later, the Bombers went on a 23-5 run to build and 18-point lead, 78-60, by the 6:54 mark of the second half to put the game out of reach.

Sophomore Bryan Karl would connect on back-to-back 3-pointers 3:50 later to push IC's advantage out to 21 points at 87-66 to put the exclamation point on the second half comeback. Karl finished the contest with a career-high 25 points on 8-of-10 shooting, including 6-of-8 from 3-point range.

Junior Sebastian Alderete added 16 points on 7-of-14 shooting and 10 rebounds, while senior Matt Flood chipped in 12 points. Sophomore Riley Thompson also reached double-digits with 10 points.

Senior Peter Ezema (seven points), Sikoryak III (six points), freshman Zach Warech (five points), sophomore Cooper Macklin and freshman Skylar Sinon (four points), and sophomore Lucas Joshi and freshman Timmy Carver (three points) also contributed to Ithaca's win.

Ursinus jumped out to an 8-3 lead over the opening two-plus minutes of the contest, but Ithaca answered with a 7-0 run in a 1:40 span to go ahead, 10-8. During that spurt, Flood connected from 3-point range, while Ezema and Sinon found the bottom of the net.

The Bears responded with their own 8-1 run to go back on top, 16-11, with 13:11 left on the clock, but the Bombers would tie things up at 16-16 less than a minute later on a basket from Ezema and a 3-pointer by junior Sebastian Alderete.

IC and Ursinus would keep the spread within five points, including three more ties, over the next 10 minutes until a 3-pointer from Bears' Eric Williams Jr. put Urisnus up, 39-32, with 2:12 left before intermission.

Karl would score once more before break as the Bombers went into halftime trailing, 43-34.

Karl paced the Bombers with 10 points in the first half on 4-of-5 from the floor, including 2-of-3 from 3-point range. Ezema and Flood each had five points over the opening 20 minutes.

IC shot 11-for-29 (37.9%), while Ursinus went 17-for-34 (50.0%). Williams Jr. paced the Bears with 18 points on 6-of-9 (all 3-pointers).

In the second half, Ursinus held onto its lead for nearly eight minutes until the Sikoryak III lay-in, and from there, it was all Bombers.

Ithaca finished the contest shooting 34-for-63 overall (54.0%), 14-for-25 from 3-point range (56.0%) and 13-for-17 (76.5%) at the free throw line. IC also assisted on 19 makes and scored 24 points off turnovers.

The 61 second half points scored this afternoon are the most for an IC team since the Bombers hung 62 points on Houghton College on Feb. 16, 2017 in a 105-73 victory. Earlier in the 2016-17 season, Ithaca netted 63 points in the second half against Wells College on Dec. 6, 2016 in a 108-75 win.

Ithaca will return to action on Jan. 4 at 7 p.m. as IC travels to Union College for a Liberty League matchup to begin the New Year.