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Wendell’s strong performance leads the Bombers past the Golden Knights

Junior+guard+Aidan+Holmes+puts+up+a+jump+shot+in+the+Bombers+93%E2%80%9386+victory+against+the+Clarkson+University+Golden+Knights+on+Feb.+10.
John Henry Downes
Junior guard Aidan Holmes puts up a jump shot in the Bombers’ 93–86 victory against the Clarkson University Golden Knights on Feb. 10.

The Ithaca College men’s basketball team came up clutch with a 93–86 victory over the Clarkson University Golden Knights. Going into the game, both teams had a 6–9 Liberty League record with their eyes still on the Liberty League championships.

Junior guard Logan Wendell led the Bombers, scoring a career high 37 points while also having five rebounds and four steals. Senior guard Andrew Geschickter followed with 17 points.

The Golden Knights were led by graduate student guard Ryan Miles-Ferguson with 33 points and 10 rebounds. Senior guard Frankie Rainville put up 20 points.

In the first five minutes, both teams went back and forth with the Bombers leading 11–8. The Bombers were able to rack up four steals, with three coming from Wendell. Of the four steals, two led to easy fastbreak layups. As the half continued, the story remained the same, with the Bombers leading 22–15 as the clock hit 10 minutes.

Wendell, the Bombers’ leading scorer, looked as though nothing was stopping him as he hit 11 points off of a deep three to make the Bombers’ lead double digits with the score being 27–17. At the end of the frame, Wendell had 19 points, converting on nine of 11 shots with some acrobatic layups. Wendell led the team in points, assists and steals at the end of the half. The Golden Knights started to cut the Bombers’ lead with the score being 45–38 going into the locker room.

After the break, the Golden Knights started on a 6–0 run to cut their deficit to only one point. The Bombers started the half missing their first 10 shots while Clarkson made two of their first four shots. Although it took almost five minutes, Wendell got the Bombers started with their first points in the second half with a contact layup to make the score 47–44. The Bombers snatched the momentum back, mounting a 9–0 run to make the score 56–46. During the run, junior guard Bryce Bleibtrey hit a 3-pointer and a layup and Wendell scored his 1,000th career point off of two free-throws.

Wendell said all that is behind his high-level performances is the trust and love he gets from his teammates and coaches.

“That’s actually all it is,” Wendell said. “I’ve been super blessed to have teammates and coaches to put faith in me every night. They put me in positions to be successful. There’s no way us or myself could accomplish any of this without these guys.”

When the clock hit eight minutes, Knight’s first-year forward Braeden Burns knotted the score at 66 points for the Golden Knights off of a converted and-1 layup. A few minutes later, Geschickter hit a deep 3-point shot while being closely defended to make the Bombers lead 76–69. On the next possession, he hit yet another 3-pointer to make the score 79–71. Both teams went back and forth for the rest of the game, but the Bombers came up big with a 93–86 win.

Geschickter said this team has made a lot of growth over the season. He said the team gets better every day and is an entertaining squad.

“Like I said yesterday, I knew this team was getting better,” Geschickter said. “It was so great to see Logan go off and get his 1,000th point and career high. [There were] contributions from everyone and I just believe in this team and I think we love playing with each other.”

After the past two losses, in which the Bombers fell in the last minute of the game, head coach Waleed Farid said this victory feels good.

“It feels nice to get a win,” Farid said. “We’ve been pretty close these last few games and finally [to] breakthrough and get one is a little bit of a relief. [I’m] happy about our guys, happy the way we played, happy the way we handled the adversity that showed up in the game [and] happy about the way we started the game too.”

The Bombers’ next two games are crucial Liberty League games. Wendell compared these must-win games to the playoffs themselves.

“We’re in a must-win situation,” Wendell said. “We get an extra week of playoffs, and we’re just trying to take it one game at a time and control our own destiny and win as many games as we can.”

With the win, the Bombers’ record goes to 12-11 on the year. In their next match, they will take on Bard College at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 16 in the Ben Light Gymnasium.

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Flynn Hynes, Assistant Sports Editor
John Henry Downes, Photographer
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