ALFRED NY – For the second time this season, the Alfred University men's basketball team defeated Stevens Institute of Technology in overtime on Friday evening. This time it was at the lively and student packed Terry S. Galanis Family arena.
After falling in an early hole, the Saxons (16-4, 9-2 Empire 8) controlled the overtime period and came away with the 78-64 win over the Ducks.
It was all but smooth sailing to begin the game for Alfred as Stevens went on a 16-2 run in the middle portion of the first half to take a commanding 27-11 lead with 6:51 left on the clock.
A timeout called by Stevens allowed the Saxons to gather themselves and settle into an offensive groove.
A strong post move inside by Elliot Bowen (Salamanca, NY/Ellicottville) followed by a quick three from Dom LeMorta (Scotia, NY/Scotia-Glenville) sparked the AU offense and cut the deficit to just 10.
LeMorta then hit a midrange jumper and another shot from behind the arc to make it 27-24 with 4:09 to play in the first half.
A couple of free throws, followed by a three from Steven's Ryan Coffee pushed the Ducks lead back up to 8 with 3:19 left in the half.
It did not take long before AU began another push thanks to some more big buckets from LeMorta, along with a made three from Scotty Stopera (Scotia, NY/Scotia-Glenville).
At the end of the first half, Alfred had fought its way back and made the score 34-32 in favor of Stevens.
The Second half was close the whole way. A quick LeMorta jumper right out of the locker room tied the game at 34 all. Stevens then hit a three, followed by a fast break layup to regain a five point advantage.
On the next possession, Cole Eells (Ithaca, NY/Ithaca) nailed a three-pointer to make it a two point game once again. Sage Brown (Cortland, NY/Cortland) then forced a Steven's turnover and was fouled on the opposite end, resulting in two made free throws to tie the game at 39.
At the 14:57 mark of the second half, Stopera hit a long ball for the Saxons, giving them their first lead since the opening minutes of the game.
The teams went back and forth for the next few possessions, converting midrange jumpers and three-pointers on each end.
A layup from Stevens at the 6:28 mark of the second half made the score 61-55 and gave the Ducks their largest lead of the second half.
Points in the paint from Brown and Bowen erased the deficit for the Saxons and helped them regain the lead, 64-63, with just over two minutes to play.
A free throw at the 1:05 mark from Steven's Frank Amari tied the game at 64 and ultimately sent the game to overtime.
The entirety of the extra five minutes went the way of Alfred, outscoring the Ducks 14-0.
Sam Dagon (Hornell, NY/Hornell) got things rolling in the extra period with a nifty move in the paint for a layup to make it 66-64. Buckets from Stopera, Brown and LeMorta helped dominate the extra five minutes and secure the season sweep of Stevens for the first time since the 2015-16 season.
"Yeah it was a big win and I thought the crowd was awesome today," Head Coach Russ Phillips said. "This was a little bit different than the first game [against Stevens] as we were able to close the gap a little bit earlier that time as they [Stevens] jumped on us in both games. I thought we came out a little bit flat in the first 10 minutes but then Pat McLamore Jr. (Greensboro, NC/Aquinas Institute), Kevin Durkin (Buffalo, NY/St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute) and Jeremiah [Zitz] came in and gave us some good minutes that got our energy going. Then it was really back-and-forth the rest of the game and I'm just happy for the guys. Sam [Dagon] had some huge buckets, Dom [LeMorta] was tremendous as he has been all year and Scotty [Stopera] hit some big shots and we are glad that we were home for it."
LeMorta led the way for AU with 24 points on 8-15 shooting. Stopera ended with 14 points thanks to going 4-7 from beyond the arc. He also dished out four assists and drew five offensive fouls on the defensive end. Brown recorded a double-double for the Saxons with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Bowen did a little of everything with 10 points, seven rebounds, two assists, four steals and a block. Jeremiah Zitz (Irondequoit, NY/Irondequoit) played some big defensive minutes and grabbed six rebounds.
Alfred will be back at home tomorrow for senior day against The Sage Colleges at 4PM.