For the second straight game, the men’s basketball team rallied in the second half to overcome a weak first half, recording a 65-52 win in its conference opener against Elmira College on Tuesday night in Ben Light Gymnasium.
The Bombers (3–2 overall, 1–0 Empire 8) shot just under 42 percent in the first half but only had 24 field goal attempts compared to 31 attempts for the Soaring Eagles (0–6 overall, 0–1 Empire 8), who led 28-25 at the half. The Blue and Gold heated up throughout the second half, as they shot just under 54 percent from the floor.
Senior guard Sean Rossi scored 12 points and recorded seven assists. He said the Bombers were lacking intensity at the start of the game.
“Our game plan was to not let them shoot 3’s,” Rossi said. “We had to make them put the ball on the floor, and in the first five possessions, they made 3’s. Once we starting getting pressure on the point guard up top, they started getting nervous with the ball, and we rolled from there.”
Junior forwards Tom Sweeney and Frank Mitchell led the Bombers, as both were in double figures, with Sweeney recording a team-high 15 points and Mitchell recording 13. Mitchell heated up during the early part of the second half, scoring 11 points in the first five and a half minutes. He said getting the forwards involved was part of the Bomber game plan.
“Our teammates looked down low on the block a lot for us tonight, and when we’re getting touches, usually we’re effective,” Mitchell said.
Bomber Head Coach Jim Mullins said he was disappointed with how the Soaring Eagles were able to dictate the tempo in the first half by bringing the shot clock down under ten seconds and hitting their outside shots. He said he was trying to keep Mitchell and Sweeney fit by rotating both into the game regularly. Mitchell got the start and played 23 minutes while Sweeney played 17.
The Bombers will host SUNY-Oswego this Saturday at 4 p.m. Mullins said the Blue and Gold will have to shoot much better to be competitive against the 5–1 Lakers.
“Our 3-point shooting has been atrocious,” Mullins said. “We have pretty good shooters on the team, but right now we’re shooting [24%], and you can’t win with that kind of shooting.”