Oswego State 83 Plattsburgh State 82
Another exciting game between these teams that went right down to the wire. Oswego went in front after some early back and forth play with an 11-0 run that gave them a 16-9 lead. The last 6 points of that run came from back to back 3 pointers by Ian Schupp and Brian Sortino. The Lakers would slowly extend the margin to a double digit lead at 25-15, then got another 3 pointer from Sortino and a pair from Schupp to grab their largest lead of the game at 36-20 with 6:47 left in the half. A 12-3 burst brought the Cardinals closer and narrowed the gap to 39-34, with 3:19 to play. Eli Bryant had 5 of those points and Brandon Johnson had 4. The Lakers put the brakes on the Plattsburgh comeback by scoring the next 5 points, to once again go up by double digits. The Cardinals weren't done however, and would come all the way back as they scored the final 10 points of the period. The teams went into the break deadlocked at 44.
The second half seemed like deja vu all over again as Sortino opened with a 3 pointer and scored on a drive to the hoop. Schupp followed with a jumper and then Jamir Ferebee did likewise. After the Cards missed on their end, Ferebee came down and buried a 3 pointer and was fouled on the play. He made the free throw and the Lakers had once again built a double digit lead at 57-46 with 16:07 remaining in the period. Plattsburgh regrouped again and got 5 straight points from Brandon Johnson on a jumper and a 3 point play. Ian Howard followed with a pair of layups and then Eric Mack got 3 straight baskets on a jumper and two quick moves to the rim. The Cardinals were only down 3, at 64-61, and a pair of free throws from Jon Patron, followed by a layup from Adam Jaquish, gave the Cardinals their first lead since the the game was only 4 minutes old. The lead was a short one, though, as Ian Schupp did what Ian Schupp does...buried another 3 pointer (his fourth) to put the Lakers back in front. Ferebee followed with his third 3 pointer after the Cardinals missed 4 opportunities to tie or take the lead, including several missed free throws. The final 6 minutes featured two teams slugging it out as the Lakers led by Sortino and Keith Tyson managed to stay in front of the Cardinals led by Mack and Ian Howard. Oswego's final 13 points were all scored by Sortino (9) or Tyson (4). Plattsburgh's final 17 points were scored by Mack (8), Howard (6) and a 3 pointer by Eli Bryant that set the stage for the final possessions.
After a Sortino free throw made the score 81-77 with 32 seconds to go the Lakers took a time out. Plattsburgh set up a play for Mack that had Bryant bringing up the ball and as he approached the 3 point arc sent an alley-oop pass that was grabbed and jammed by Mack to cut the margin to one possession. With 21 seconds left Sortino was fouled once again and he made both free throws to build the lead back to 4 points. Plattsburgh rushed the ball to their end and Bryant connected on a 3 pointer from the corner to cut the lead to a single point,83-82, with 16 ticks on the clock. After a Plattsburgh time out the Cardinals attemped to steal the inbounds pass and when that failed they fouled. The Lakers were not in the double bonus and when they missed the front end of the 1&1 the Cardinals got the rebound and had one last chance. They called a time out. Then the Lakers called a time out. The Cards brought it up and a decent attempt at a three pointer was off the mark. Plattsburgh fouled with 2 tenths of a second left. The Lakers missed the free throw and a full court heave by the Cards wasn't close. The Lakers had claimed their 4th straight victory on Plattsburgh's homecourt.
Attendance was only listed at 160 because the college is not in session but the 160 fans that showed up got treated to a great game. They saw the best of Division III basketball Friday night with two teams that are rivals, that have consistently made the NCAA tournament over the past decade. They witnessed some great shooting, some outstanding drives to the basket, some thrilling comebacks, and players on both teams taking control of the game for their team. It's too bad that someone has to lose these games. It's really, really, too bad when it's my Cardinals.
Two final thoughts. Laker Brian Sortino made a huge mistake when he decided to go to Oswego. He should have went to Plattsburgh. In his last 4 games at the Cards' Memorial Hall he's scored 109 points and dished out 24 assists. You've heard of "Horses for Courses" well Plattsburgh would have been his Belmont Park. Only God knows how many points he would have scored in a Cardinal uniform, but I guarantee it would have been more than he'll score as a Laker.
The Cardinals' high flying Eric Mack gets to the rim quicker than anybody in the SUNYAC and his moves were on display all night long on both ends of the floor. He ended up with 7 blocks on the night and actually had at least 9. The men blowing the whistles incorrectly called him for a foul on one block and goaltending on another. For a guy that's only 6'3" tall I'll take his vertical leap over anybody in all of Division III. I've seen at least 180 teams in DIII play a game, including most of the good ones, and I've yet to see anyone jump like Eric.
Brian Sortino had a double-double as he captured scoring honors with 25 points and had a game high 12 assists. When he wasn't driving and scoring he was dishing to an open teammate for a number of easy baskets. It was the last time I'll see him play in person. Part of me says good, no more Sortino to worry about, but I'll miss his game just the same. He was a pleasure to watch during his career. Hope Coach Leone gave him my message. I tried to see him after the game but the team was already on the bus. I thought they were hanging around to watch the women's game but the teams had separate buses.
Jamir Ferebee had 19 points and hit some big 3 pointers for the Lakers. He was 3 of 4 from downtown.
Ian Schupp had 16 points and also hurt the Cardinals with his long distance shots as he made 4 of 7.
Mykelle Krecko led the team with 12 rebounds, which tied for the game high. He added 6 points, 2 assists, 2 blocks and a steal. Got a chance to visit with the big guy in his last visit to Memorial Hall. He's another one that got away after spending his first 2 years in Plattsburgh playing for the local junior college. I hoped he would transfer to Plattsburgh. A 6'10" guy would have fit right in the Cardinal lineup...or just about anyone's!
Keith Tyson had 8 points, 4 boards, a block and a steal.
Eric Mack led Plattsburgh with 21 points off the bench. He had 8 rebounds, 7 blocks, 3 assists and a steal. His 7 blocks just missed tying a team record of 8 blocks set back in 2005 by Jelani Simmons. If we had a different crew reffing the game (a crew who actually knew the rules) Eric would have been credited with 9 blocks and set a new record.
Ian Howard had a career high 20 points and completed a double-double with a game high 12 rebounds. 7 of those rebounds came on the offensive end. He was 9 of 11 from the field. He also added a block and a steal.
Brandon Johnson had 13 points, 7 assists (a new career high), 2 rebounds and a steal in 29 minutes off the bench.
Eli Bryant added 10 points, 2 steals and 2 assists.
Chris Middleton had 7 points, 3 assists and 2 rebounds.
The Lakers were 31x63 from the field (49.2%). The Cardinals were 31x61 (50.8%). The long ball was a difference maker as Oswego made 12x25 (48%) from behind the arc while the Cardinals were just 4x17 (23.5%). The Lakers were only 9x18 (50%) from the line and while the Cardinals had a slightly better percentage of 57.1%, they were only 16x28 from the line which included just 3 of 10 in the 2nd half. If they shoot 50% from the line in the 2nd half they win the game.
The teams both ended up with 36 rebounds, Plattsburgh had a season low 7 turnovers and the Lakers only had 10. The Cardinals had 20 assisted baskets, the Lakers had 17.
Oswego improves to 10-4 overall and 6-1 in the YAC. They went from a 3 way tie for first place to a 2 way tie as Brockport won and Geneseo lost on Friday night. Oswego will travel to Potsdam to face the Bears later today at 2:00 PM.
Plattsburgh falls to 6-7 overall and 2-5 in the conference. They are now in 8th place and will have to climb over a few bodies to make the playoffs. They will host Cortland later today in a 2:00 PM tipoff.