Score: Elmira College 83, Houghton College 64
Records: Elmira (4-10, 2-3 Empire 8), Houghton (1-16, 0-8 E8)
Location: The Nielsen Center -- Houghton, N.Y.
HOUGHTON, N.Y. -- The Elmira College men's basketball team traveled to Houghton College on Tuesday night and earned an impressive 19-point victory, 83-64, over the Highlanders in Empire 8 Conference action.
While a constant full-court press and a fast-paced offense wreaked havoc on the host Highlanders throughout the game, the Soaring Eagles secured their second E8 win of the season thanks to a commanding performance crashing the glass. In addition to tying a season high with 49 rebounds, EC produced a positive rebound margin for just the second time in 2018-19 at plus-11. Fueled by a single-game season-best 22 offense boards, Elmira registered more points in the paint (40-to-34) and had a sizable advantage in second-chance points (28-to-7).
Four players logged double-digit points for the Soaring Eagles, who shot 36.6 percent (36-of-82) from the field and 29.0 percent (9-of-31) from 3-point range. Justin Porrett '19, who recently joined the 1,000-point club, recorded 17 points, eight rebounds, six assists, and four steals – all team highs. Henry Cuffee '19 and Shawn Backus '21 scored 14 and 13 points, respectively, and both hauled in seven rebounds. First-year guard Kyle Kokoskie '22 scored a season-high 10 points in 13 minutes off of the bench.
Action started slowly, as Elmira converted the game's only field goal in the first four minutes, but a Matt Amoddio '22 3-pointer brought the Soaring Eagles to life and extended their early lead to 7-2. Leading by one, the Purple and Gold went on an 11-0 run that broke the game open at 18-6. Forced turnovers by Backus and Porrett turned into fast-break points on the opposite end of the court, and Kyle McCreery '20 added a 3-pointer to aid in the rally.
A Porrett and-one and 3-pointers on consecutive possessions by Jesse Adelson '20 and Backus allowed Elmira to grab its biggest lead of the opening half at 17 points, 31-14. Cuffee buried a last-second trey of his own before the break, as EC led 43-27 at halftime.
While second-half scoring was more even (40-to-37 in favor of EC), the Soaring Eagles never let their cushion dip below double digits. Late in the half, Porrett turned a pair of steals into three-point possessions, the first concluding with another Adelson 3-pointer and the latter ending with a trey of his own, which pushed the advantage to 83-60, the largest of the night.
In Their Own Words…
Head Coach Randie Torgalski on the effect of Elmira's rebounding in Tuesday's victory…
"It basically won us the game, that and the forced turnovers. We needed all of the extra shots we could get since we did not shoot well tonight. Luckily, our activity on the glass and our defense pushed us through."
Coach Torgalski on the importance of the road win over Houghton…
"We couldn't afford to lose any more ground in the conference standings. Plus, we needed to feel good again. We had a tough week last week and needed to bounce back heading into a big home weekend."
News and Notes
- With the win, Elmira improved to 4-10 overall and is just one game below .500 in the conference standings at 2-3.
- The Soaring Eagles add another win to the all-time series and now lead 36-10 against Houghton.
- EC's 22 offensive rebounds and its plus-11 rebound margin are both season highs.
- The Soaring Eagle offense tied a single-game season-low by committing just seven turnovers.
- Defensively, the 64 points allowed are tied for the fewest surrendered by the Soaring Eagles in 2018-19.
- Backus, Cuffee, and Porrett have finished with double-digit points in 11 games this year.
- Kokoskie finished 4-for-4 from the foul line en route to a season-best 10 points, the first double-digit point outing of his young career.
The Soaring Eagles will play back-to-back games inside Speidel Gymnasium this weekend, starting with a 7:30 p.m. matchup with The Sage Colleges on Friday, January 25.