ONEONTA, NY – Hartwick, which trailed St. John Fisher by as many as 17 points in the second half, fought back to take the lead with seven and a half minutes remaining on Sunday afternoon. The Cardinals, however, finished the game outscoring the Hawks 29-16 to take an 88-77 victory. The loss snaps a two-game winning streak for the Hawks, who slip to 9-14 overall and 5-9 in the Empire 8. St. John Fisher improves to 15-7 and 10-3 with the win.
Five Hawks were in double figures on the day, led by Kyle Bradshaw's (Tinton Falls, NJ/Brookdale CC) 17 points. Austin Haskell (Kirkwood, NY/Susquehanna Valley) finished the game with 13 points with Brandon LaForest (Cohoes, NY/Cohoes) netting 12. Bobby Connors (Rockville Centre, NY/Chaminade) dropped in 11 points and Pat Garey (Johnson City, NY/Johnson City) registered 10.
The Cardinals bolted out to an 11-0 lead on the Hawks after just over three minutes. Hartwick trimmed the margin to six, 27-21, but Fisher would go on a 13-4 run to grab their biggest lead of the half at 40-25. The Hawks got the last four points to head into the locker room down 11 points, 40-29. Haskell led 'Wick in the half with eight points.
The visitors scored the first six points of the second half to open up their largest lead of the day, 46-27. The Fisher advantage stayed in double digits until under the 10-minute mark. The Hawks turned up the defensive pressure with a full-court defense and forced six Cardinal turnovers in a 15-0 run that gave the team its first lead of the game, 61-59. Bradshaw scored five points in the run with LaForest and Garey each netting four.
The score was tied at 63-all before a Cardinal three-pointer at the 6:16 mark put Fisher up to stay. The Cardinals built a six-point lead before a three-pointer from Sam Hanley (Cranston, RI/Cranston East) cut the deficit to two, 73-71, with under four minutes left on the clock. The lead was three after a Bradshaw trey at 2:38 but Fisher would score the next seven points in the next minute and a half to pull away.
The Hawks made 36% from the floor as a team. They made eight three-pointers but made only 28% on the day. Fisher shot 52% from the floor. The Cardinals had a 42-37 edge on the glass. Hartwick would force 17 Cardinal miscues on the day, which it turned into 20 points.
Garey finished as the Hawks' leading rebounder with eight. Connors contributed six boards and he earned three steals. Bradshaw added six rebounds with three steals and LaForest grabbed five rebounds and he dished out four assists.
Ryan Henderson poured in 31 points for the Cardinals. James Leone added 16 points and Matt Asenjo chipped in 13 points.
The game marked the final home game for seniors LaForest and Justin Carruthers (Greenwich, NY/Greenwich). Carruthers finished with five points.
The Hawks next play at Sage on Tuesday, February 12. Game time is 7:30 p.m. from the Kahl Center in Albany, NY.
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