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Men’s basketball falls short against Pioneers

From+left%2C+junior+guard+Logan+Wendell+drives+into+the+lane+from+the+right+wing+with+Pioneers+senior+forward+Damien+Call+trailing+to+his+left+in+the+Bombers+82%E2%80%9371+defeat+Nov.+27.
Malik Clement
From left, junior guard Logan Wendell drives into the lane from the right wing with Pioneers senior forward Damien Call trailing to his left in the Bombers’ 82–71 defeat Nov. 27.

In its home opener, the Ithaca College men’s basketball team fell to the Utica University Pioneers 82–71 on Nov. 27 in Ben Light Gymnasium.

Junior guard Logan Wendell led the Bombers with 21 points, three rebounds, and two assists. Senior guard Triston Wennersten put up 14 points and nine rebounds, while first-year guard Evan Cabral had 11 points and five rebounds.

For the Pioneers, points were distributed pretty evenly among the starters with four players scoring above 15 points. Sophomore guard Dayion Thompson led the team with 24 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists, while also shooting nine for 11 at the free-throw line. Senior forward Damien Call finished the game with 17 points, 15 rebounds, and a 61.5% field goal percentage. Graduate-student guard Justice Brantley had 18 points and eight rebounds and junior forward Hagen Foley had 16 points.

The Bombers opened up the game with a ferocious effort shortly going on a 6–0 run to make the score 9–4 with 16:10 left in the first half. The two teams would continue to go back and forth until the Pioneers came back to take the lead 20–17 with 10:37 remaining in the half.

In the last four minutes of the half, the Pioneers scored 14 unanswered points, entering halftime with a 40–26 lead. The halftime focus was on the Pioneers’ field goal percentage; while both teams attempted 35 shots in the first half, the Pioneers converted 17, with the Bombers only making 12.

The Bombers opened up the second half with a beautiful three from Cabral. However, the shot was not enough to give the Bombers the momentum as the Pioneers would take a 54–37 point lead with 14:44 remaining in the half.

50 seconds later, Wendell would score eight points with two threes within about a minute. Wendell’s streak would cut the Bomber’s deficit to single digits with a score of 56–47 with 12:40 remaining.

The Bombers continued to fight with Wennersten cutting the deficit to 69–64 after hitting a silky three with 5:00 left in the game. However, it was not enough to overcome the Pioneers who came out on top.

The deciding factor at the end of the game was fouls and free-throw percentage. The Pioneers shot 20 of 24 from the line, whereas the Bombers shot 9 of 12 from the line.

Head coach Waleed Farid said that the loss is a good placeholder to show where the team is currently standing.

“I think it’s a good measuring stick for us where we currently are,” Farid said. “There’s a lot of positives to take from it and there’s a lot of room for growth for our team. I still like how hard we played, we just gotta get a little bit sharper in our execution.”

Farid also said that the tough competition today is only going to prepare them for the future. With a young team, losses like these can be beneficial for growth.

“Sometimes you gotta lose to learn how to win,” Farid said. “We’re not going to let today’s loss slow down what we do tomorrow and the day after… The goal is to keep doing the things we’re doing well and cutting out some of the things that we aren’t.”

The Bombers will next face off with the Vassar College Brewers at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 1 in Poughkeepsie, NY.

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Flynn Hynes, Assistant Sports Editor
Malik Clement, Managing Editor
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