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Your donation will support The Ithacan's student journalists in their effort to keep the Ithaca College and wider Ithaca community informed. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

Men’s basketball falls short in last minute against RIT

Junior+guard+Logan+Wendell+goes+with+a+behind+the+back+dribble+against+RIT+senior+guard+Keegan+Ocorr.
Lorien Tyne
Junior guard Logan Wendell goes with a behind the back dribble against RIT senior guard Keegan Ocorr.

The Ithaca College men’s basketball team lost 84–83 against The Rochester Institute of Technology Tigers on Feb. 6 at Ben Light Gymnasium, in a game that went until the last possession, with the Tigers getting two game winning free-throws.

The Bombers were led by junior guard Logan Wendell and senior guard Triston Wennersten. Wendell had 19 points and four assists and shot 50% from the field. Wennersten had 22 points and six rebounds, while holding a 57.1% field goal percentage.

Senior guard Matt Caggiano led the Tigers with 19 points, four rebounds and made eight of 11 shots. Junior guard Chase Dickens had 18 points, eight rebounds and shot six for 11 from the field.

The game started with an offensive battle with the Bombers getting a reverse layup from  first-year guard Evan Cabral and a 3-point shot from Wennersten. However, RIT would answer back with a jumper, a layup and a deep 3-point shot from junior guard Brock Bowen to tie the score up at 7–7. On the next two possessions, the Tigers converted two 3-point shots coming from Bowen and Dickens to take a 13–9 lead with 15:52 remaining in the half.

The Bombers fired back, going on a 10–0 run to take a 19–13 lead with six points coming from Wennersten off of three layups. Dickens answered back with four points off of two free throws and a dunk to cut the deficit to only two points with 12:25 left in the half.

Both teams engaged in a back-and-forth battle, with the Bombers holding a narrow 27-26 lead with 7:56 remaining in the half. The Bombers scored two 3-point shots and a layup, while the Tigers managed to make a 3-point shot, two layups and a pair of free throws.

Over the next five minutes, The Bombers would hold a 31–26 lead, but the Tigers were able to mount a 13–5 run to take a 39–36 lead coming off three straight 3-point shots. The South Hill Squad went into the locker room trailing 41–38. In the first half, the Tigers found themselves going 14 for 23 from the field, converting on eight of 14 3-point shots. The Bombers went 16 for 34 in the first half, making five of 11 shots from behind the arc.

First-year guard Jaylon O’Neal passes the ball over to junior guard Bryce Bleibtrey while being guarded by RIT first-year guard Zac Ditzel. (Emma Kersting)

Right out of the gate, Wendell blocked Dickens’ layup and then splashed a 3-point shot to tie the score up at 41–41. However, the Tigers took the momentum back, leading 54–47 with 15:54 remaining.

The Bombers started a comeback cutting the deficit to two points with a score off an and-1 from Wendell. With 12:22 remaining, the score was 61–59. The Tigers stuck right back with a 6–0 run to make the score 67–59 with 7:57 left.

With 4:45 remaining, Wennersten would make a 3-point shot to cut the Tigers’ lead to only one point with the score being 74–73. Wennersten would then make a free-throw to tie the score up at 74–74 with 3:58 remaining. The next possession, he made another 3-point shot to take the Bombers first lead of the half at 77–74. Both teams continued to score back and forth with the Bombers leading 81–80 with 1:30 left. 

The next possession, the Bombers missed the net, causing the Tigers to take advantage and get a layup from junior forward Josiah Turner to take the lead at 82–81 with 42 seconds left in the half. Wendell struck back, making a roll-in layup to take an 83–82 lead, although on the next play, Caggiano went to the free-throw line and converted on both of his shots to give the Tigers a 84–83 win.

After the game, head coach Waleed Farid said that the mistakes the team made are all things they can clean up for their upcoming games.

“I think the main takeaway is we did not play our best game, and we were right there at the end,” Farid said. “So, I think the mistakes we were making are all things we can clean up.”

Toward the end of play, the Bombers started to mount a comeback. Farid described the play as strong on both defense and offense during the second half run.

“I think we just started stringing together possessions that were good on both ends,” Farid said. “We were getting stops. We were not turning the ball over. It wasn’t anything complicated, we were just able to execute. When we execute, we have a better chance of winning.”

The Bombers have a long home stretch coming up. Cabral said the main goal for the team is to not sit on the loss going into the next game.

“Just taking a step back [and] leaving that game on the court and just moving on to Friday,” Cabral said. “We don’t want to dwell on it. After this loss it’s tough, but we’re coming back with a different mindset.”

With the loss, the Bombers’ record goes to 11–10 on the season. Their next game will be against St. Lawrence University on Feb. 9 at Ben Light Gymnasium.

 

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Flynn Hynes, Assistant Sports Editor
Emma Kersting, Podcast Editor
Lorien Tyne, Former News Editor
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