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Second half surge leads men’s basketball to victory over Yellowjackets

From+left%2C+Bombers+junior+guard+Aidan+Holmes+drives+right+down+the+baseline+as+Yellowjackets+junior+forward+Logan+Jagodzinski+tries+to+defend+the+penetration+into+the+lane.
Prakriti Panwar
From left, Bombers’ junior guard Aidan Holmes drives right down the baseline as Yellowjackets’ junior forward Logan Jagodzinski tries to defend the penetration into the lane.

The Ithaca College men’s basketball team faced the University of Rochester Yellowjackets on Dec. 6 in Ben Light Gymnasium. The first 30 minutes remained back and forth until the Bombers got away with a run in the last ten minutes of the game to take home the victory 86–70.

For the Bombers, junior guard Logan Wendell led the team with 24 points, nine rebounds and two assists. First-year forward Alex Penders put up 20 points with eight rebounds, shooting four for seven from the three point line.

Graduate student guard Matt Niemczura led the Yellowjackets with 12 points and four rebounds, while first-year guard Malachi Moore had 12 points and two rebounds. 

Throughout the first half, both teams continued to fight back and forth with the Yellowjackets leading 41–35 going into the locker room. For the Bombers, both senior guard Triston Wennersten and first-year forward Alex Penders had notable first half performances. Wennersten finished the half with 12 points and six rebounds making 83.3% of his shots, while Penders finished the half with eight points and a 75% field goal percentage through only nine minutes of play.

The second half opened up with both teams still scoring back and forth until the Bombers took the lead with 9:38 left in the second half off of Pender’s three, making the score 57–55. The three gave the team a momentum boost as they would outscore the Yellowjackets 32–15 in the last ten minutes of the half with 13 points from Wendell and 12 points from Penders to give the team a win. 

Head coach Waleed Farid said the team stayed confident with its play going into the second half. They did not beat themselves up after getting outscored in the first half.

“We just kinda stuck with the game plan,” Farid said. “We didn’t get down on ourselves when they made some shots, which is something that’s happened to us in the first few games… With all the work we’ve been putting in, it looked like we were in a little better shape than they were. Credit to them, they are a really good team, we just handled their physicality really well.”

Farid also gave high praise to Penders for his performance as a first-year student.

“He was ready for when his number was called,” Farid said. “That’s the kind of kid he is. He’s never cared about how many minutes he’s playing or anything like that. He’s a [first-year] who’s gotten better every single day. Other people saw some of the things we’ve been seeing a little bit. He obviously played a little bit out of his mind, but he was great because he was ready for the moment and he didn’t back down. He made great plays on both ends, not just the offensive end. All the credit to him and the work he’s been putting in.”

With the win, the Bombers’ record improves to 5–3 with its next game being against Carnegie Mellon University at 2 p.m. Jan. 2 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

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Flynn Hynes, Assistant Sports Editor
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