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Men’s basketball falls to .500 at the hands of the Saints

From+left%2C+senior+guard+Cam+Williams+is+guarded+by+sophomore+guard+Logan+Wendell+during+the+Ithaca+College+mens+basketball+teams+82%E2%80%9380+loss+to+SUNY+Cortland+on+Nov.+8%2C+2022.
ANA GAVILANES
From left, senior guard Cam Williams is guarded by sophomore guard Logan Wendell during the Ithaca College men’s basketball team’s 82–80 loss to SUNY Cortland on Nov. 8, 2022.

The Ithaca College men’s basketball team faced off against the St. Lawrence University Saints on Feb. 9 in Ben Light Gymnasium. The Saints won 65–60 after getting late game free-throws to seal the victory.

Junior guard Aidan Holmes led the Bombers with 21 points, while senior guard Andrew Geschickter had 13 points and four assists.

For the Saints, sophomore forward Adam Dudzinski had 20 points and five rebounds, while junior forward Andrew Cowan had 17 points and eight rebounds.

The first few minutes of the game were low scoring, with the score being 2–2 three minutes in. The game started to pick up with senior guard Triston Wennersten getting the Bombers’ first seven points off of a jump shot, a layup and a 3-point shot. The score remained 7–7 with about 14 minutes remaining in the half, but the Bombers were able to take their first lead of the game at 12–9 off of first-year guard Evan Cabral’s spinning layup with 13:16 left in the half.

Although it was unexpected, as the Saints are the second top-ranked team in the Liberty League, the Bombers held an 18–12 point lead 10 minutes into the game. However, Wennersten looked shaken up after colliding with a defender and left the court due to an injury. Wennersten has been a crucial player for the Bombers, averaging 15.2 points per game and putting up 22 points against the Rochester Institute of Technology Tigers on Feb. 6. Although without him, the Bombers were able to play some spectacular defense through the rest of the half with a 30–23 lead over the Saints going into the locker room. In the last five minutes of the half, Holmes was able to get two pull up 3-pointers having a hand in his face on both of them.

After the break, the Saints started to mount a comeback, cutting the Bombers’ lead to 34–30 off a 3-point shot from first-year guard Troy McPherson. At 14:20, the Saints took a 35–34 lead off of a converted and-1 play from Cowan. They started the half on a 19–6 run, holding a 42–36 lead with 12 minutes left in the game.

For the next five minutes, the Bombers started to mount a comeback, cutting the Saints’ lead to 47–44 off of a 3-pointer from Holmes. However, Dudzinski made a 3-pointer to keep the lead at six for the Saints. With five minutes left in the game, Holmes made another 3-pointer to make the score 52–49 with the Saints still holding the lead. On the next play, Dudzinski countered yet again with a 3-pointer to lead 55–49.

The Bombers then went on a 7–1 run to tie the game at 56 points. However, the Saints would then get 3 free throws from Dudzinski to take a 59–56 lead. The Bombers got a fadeaway jumper from Geschickter and a fastbreak steal and layup from Cabral to take a 60–59 lead with 51 seconds left in the game. However, the Saints would get six free-throw shots in the last 45 seconds to take a 65–60 win.

With the loss, the Bombers’ losing streak extends to three games, however their Liberty League championship hopes aren’t over yet with the last three games of the season being against Liberty League opponents.

Junior guard Bryce Bleibtrey talked about the significance of these games and how much a win means to the team.

“[They’re] really important,” Bleibtrey said. “We’re fighting for a playoff spot, so we got to win all three, hope things go the right way. We played hard today, but didn’t come out with the win. It happens, but moving forward we just got to lock in and win the games.”

Geschickter emphasized Bleibtrey’s statement saying these games mean everything. He talked about how the coaches have been inspiring them to make the playoffs.

“They mean everything,” Geschickter said. “We all know what needs to happen for us to make the playoffs, but we just know that this team keeps getting opportunities. We’re just getting better and better, and we’re clicking at the right time. Coach showed us a video of the 2011 [University of Connecticut] national tournament run with Kemba Walker and Shabazz Napier and that’s just been our inspiration to keep adding every day.”

The Bombers will take on Clarkson University at 4 p.m. Feb. 10 in the Ben Light Gymnasium.

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Flynn Hynes, Assistant Sports Editor
ANA GAVILANES, Photographer
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