ONEONTA, NY – Sage used a 6-0 spurt to grab a five-point lead with under a minute left and held off Hartwick in the closing seconds to get an 81-78 victory over the Hawks at Lambros on Saturday evening.
The lead, which changed hands three times in the final six minutes, was 77-72 in Sage's favor with 51 seconds remaining before a Tommy Kelly (Niskayuna, NY/Niskayuna) three-point basket made it 77-75. Darius Denmark converted a pair of free throws for Sage to make it a four-point game with 11 seconds to go until Pat Garey's (Johnson City, NY/Johnson City) 3-ball made the score 79-78 with under three seconds on the clock. The Hawks put Denmark on the line again with 0.7 seconds to play and he sank another pair for a three-point Gator margin. 'Wick fired the ensuing inbound pass deep near the three-point line but it was batted away by a Sage defender to end the game.
The Hawks would shoot 46% from the floor in the game, which included 15 three-pointers. 'Wick was 10-of-19 from beyond the arc in the first half but only 5-of-20 in the second. The Gators controlled the boards, out-rebounding the Hawks by a margin of 53-34. They grabbed a total of 21 rebounds on the offensive glass which they turned into 18 second-chance points.
Kyle Bradshaw (Tinton Falls, NJ/Brookdale CC), Kelly, and Garey combined to score 47 points for the Hawks on the night. Bradshaw scored 17 with three three-pointers to lead 'Wick. Kelly scored 16 and Garey hit for 14 points and four treys. Garey and Brandon LaForest (Cohoes, NY/Cohoes) each had a team-best six rebounds. LaForest finished the night with a trio of threes for nine points and five assists. Justin Carruthers (Greenwich, NY/Greenwich) contributed seven points and Bobby Connors (Rockville Centre, NY/Chaminade) netted six.
In the first half of play, Hartwick would take the lead on Sage with just under 16 minutes to play and they held onto it for 10 minutes. The Hawks used a 10-0 run in a two and a half minute span to build its biggest lead of the day, 30-18, with 8:49 remaining in the half. Carruthers would net five points in the run. Just three and a half minutes later, however, Sage was in front as the Gators used a 16-3 surge to grab a 34-33 edge. Hartwick answered on its next possession and scored 16 of the next 20 points to move ahead by eleven, 49-38. The Hawks would go 6-for-7 with four threes in the rally. Sage cut it to seven at halftime with the final four points.
In the second half, Hartwick maintained a single-digit lead for the first 14 minutes. Sage grabbed its first lead since the first half with 5:53 remaining. The two teams traded three-point baskets before a Garey jumper put the Hawks in front for the final time, 72-71, with 2:35 showing on the clock. A Denmark jumper on the Gators' next possession put them over the top for good at the 2:13 mark.
Sage (9-10, 5-5 E8) had six players in double figures. Christian Larson scored 14 with four threes. Chris Kidd and Anthony Mitchell each registered double-doubles. Kidd had 12 points and a game-high 13 rebounds. Mitchell added 10 and 10.
Hartwick (7-12, 3-7 E8) is back at home next weekend with games against Alfred on Friday, February 1 and Houghton on Saturday, February 2.
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