Hawks Hold Off Utica in Overtime for 74-72 Victory

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            ONEONTA, NY – Six different Hawks registered at least a point in the overtime period and Hartwick came up with a steal on Utica's final possession in a 74-72 victory on Tuesday night in Empire 8 Conference play. The victory is the Hawks' second in their last three games and they improve to 6-9 overall and 2-4 in the E8. The Pioneers fall to 7-7 and 1-4.
            After trading baskets to start the overtime, an Austin Haskell (Kirkwood, NY/Susquehanna Valley) driving layup put the Hawks in front for good, 65-63, with 3:37 remaining. A bucket from Kyle Bradshaw (Tinton Falls, NJ/Brookdale CC) and then a Bobby Connors' (Rockville Centre, NY/Chaminade) offensive rebound and put-back extended the Hartwick advantage to its biggest of the night at 69-64 with 39 ticks to go.
            The Pioneers trimmed it to a single point on two free throws with 9.5 seconds showing on the clock before Tommy Kelly (Niskayuna, NY/Niskayuna) was fouled and he made 1-of-2 from the line. The Pioneers got the defensive rebound on Kelly's second shot and forced the ball up the floor but Connors came away with a critical steal and the Hawks ran out the clock to preserve the win.
            Brandon LaForest (Cohoes, NY/Cohoes) led all scorers with 24 points. He added four rebounds and three assists. Bradshaw had 15 points, six rebounds, and a trio of threes. Kelly ended up with 15 points for 'Wick.
            LaForest would net 13 points in the opening half to top the Hawks. The visitors would lead by as many as eight points but the Hawks would keep pace and they took their first lead (30-29), since the 16:18 mark with just 1:20 left on a Bradshaw basket. They would enter halftime leading by a 32-31 margin.
            Neither team led by more than three points in the opening six minutes of the second half, which produced a total of five tie scores and six lead changes. UC grabbed the advantage at 15:02 and it held onto it all the way to the 3:19 mark before the Hawks would tie it at 57.
            A LaForest layup gave the Hawks a two-point edge 42 seconds later but a free throw and then a three-pointer from Utica would hand the lead back over, 61-59, with 1:40 to play. Kelly's jumper with under a minute evened things again. Both teams had looks at a potential game-winner near the end of regulation but none would fall to push the game to overtime, where the Hawks prevailed.
            The Hawks shot 38.4% for the game with the Pioneers shooting just under that mark at 38.3% 'Wick held a 47-45 edge on the glass and out-scored UC 38-26 in the paint.
            Haskell closed the game for Hartwick with six points and four rebounds. Connors hauled down a game-high nine rebounds. Pat Garey (Johnson City, NY/Johnson City) and Justin Carruthers (Greenwich, NY/Greenwich) each chipped in seven boards.
            Shawn Gashi led Utica with 19 points. Tyler Jollie, Kobe Lufkin, and Justin Strielkauskas all contributed 10 points for the Pioneers.
            Hartwick host Elmira College in its next Empire 8 game on Friday beginning at 7:30 p.m.
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