June 10, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 51°F


Men’s basketball squad earns two victories in Cortaca Classic

The men’s basketball team was able to pull out an 86–73 victory over Bridgewater State University on Nov. 20 at Ben Light Gymnasium thanks to a 17–4 run in the second half. The Bombers went on to defeat SUNY Cobleskill Nov. 21 in Cortland, New York to conclude the Cortaca Classic. 

The Blue and Gold were down by five early in the first half, but were able to fight back to cut the Bears’ lead down to one at halftime, as Bridgewater lead 41–40. Senior guard Sam Bevan started off hot, hitting two early 3-pointers and finishing the first half with nine points.

Bevan said the team did not get discouraged with the early struggles.

“The momentum was with us going into the half, so that was good,” Bevan said. “We all thought we were going to win the game after that.”  

Bevan would finish the game with 15 points and a team high four assists.

The South Hill squad came out flying in the second half. With six unanswered points to start the second half, the Blue and Gold were able to outscore the visiting Bears 46–32 following halftime.  

Sophomore guard Joey Flanagan was key to the win, finishing with a team high 22 points. Flanagan also grabbed three rebounds. Sophomore guard Marc Chasin also had a solid performance, finishing with 18 points, which included two 3-pointers.  

The Bomber defense was also impressive throughout the game, forcing 21 Bears’ turnovers and getting 12 steals. Freshman guard Peter Ezema chipped in nine points and a career best 16 rebounds.

As the game wore on, the Bears kept cutting the lead close, but the Bombers were always able to respond with a run of their own. The energy was high and the ball was moving well for the Bombers. At the end, it was Flanagan and Bevan hitting key free throws to close out the victory.  

Coming off the 86–73 point beat down of Bridgewater State, the squad took to the hardwood Nov. 21 on the campus of SUNY Cortland for a neutral-site match-up with SUNY Cobleskill. The game was the final contest of the Cortaca Classic.

It was all Bombers early on. Flanagan and Ezema poured in two consecutive layups, while sophomore guard Carroll Rich contributed a jumper, before the squad’s only senior guard, Sam Bevan, drained a 3-pointer, making it 9–0. Flanagan would add another layup to make it 11–0 Bombers, forcing SUNY Cobleskill to burn its first timeout.

The Fighting Tigers would break through after Flanagan missed a 3-pointer. Senior Brandon Smith would drop in a layup for SUNY Cobleskill’s first points of the day, followed shortly by a two-pointer from junior Quincey Miller to make it 11–4. The Bombers would break the short run, however, as Flanagan potted a layup to give him six points in the early going. Ezema would add another layup, and Bevan would drop in two free throws, extending the Blue and Gold’s advantage to 17–4 only seven minutes into the game.

The Fighting Tigers ran into foul trouble early. With approximately 10 minutes left to play in the opening stanza and the Bombers’ leading 19–7, the Fighting Tigers committed their sixth foul of the contest. Junior guard Carlin Champion missed his shot on the ensuing possession, allowing the Fighting Tigers to run the floor and nail a layup off the fingertips of sophomore Frank D’Esti to make it 19–9. D’Esti would add a three-ball 25 seconds later, pulling SUNY Cobleskill to 19–12.

After SUNY Cobleskill’s Christian Cooper added a layup, making it 19–14, the Fighting Tigers were once again in the wrong. A foul by Garrett Pitcher sent Bombers’ sophomore Marc Chasin to the line, where he made one free-throw, making it 20–14. A technical foul in between Chasin’s two shots sent Flanagan to the line, where he connected on both shots, giving him eight points. Chasin returned to the line and nailed his second shot, and the Bombers gained a 23–14 advantage.

With just under 4:43 remaining, the Bombers’ lead had extended to 27–19. The Fighting Tigers would pull to within seven on a Ralph Erickson free-throw, but Chasin and Bevan would knock down back-to-back threes, separated only by an Erickson layup to make it 33–22. After a layup by SUNY Cobleskill’s Derrick Quarles, Chasin would add another three-ball and a layup, swelling the lead to 38–24.

After a Miller layup for SUNY Cobleskill and two Bevan free-throws for the Bombers, the score stood at 40–26 in favor of the South Hill squad. The Fighting Tigers would tighten the lead with consecutive 3-pointers from sophomore Malik Chambers and Miller. With eight seconds remaining, Flanagan drained a three of his own, giving him a team high 15 points through the first half and making the score 43–32 Bombers at the break.

The Blue and Gold’s sharp shooting from the field didn’t lose any of its edge at the break. Ten seconds into the final stanza, Chasin fired a three ball, giving him 13 on the day. SUNY Cobleskill would respond with layups by Brandon Smith and D’Esti, but Chasin and Flanagan would both add two points to stake the Bombers to a 50–36 lead.

With 14 minutes remaining in the second half, the Bombers began to put the game away, aided by one of the team’s eight freshmen, guard Matt Flood. The young guard drained a three, a layup and a shot from the foul line to make it 61–41 Bombers. Rich would add a pair of free-throws, and Luke Cooper would get a layup to fall, staking the Bombers to a 65–41 lead.

After Erickson and Quarless added a layup and two free-throws, respectively, Rich would add a jumper and Chasin a free throw before Flood continued his hot streak, knocking home two free shots of his own, making it 70–46 with 11 minutes to go.

Despite the large deficit, SUNY Cobleskill outscored the Bombers 10–2 from the time of Flood’s free tosses until there were 7:19 to go in the game. Bevan, having seen enough of the Fighting Tigers’ run, swished a three-pointer, his third of the day, resetting the lead at 19, 75–56. With just over 4:30 to go, Flanagan would step back and nail a three-pointer, giving him 21 points and the Bombers an 85–60 advantage.

As the game neared the end, longtime Bombers’ head coach Jim Mullins looked to his bench to finish the contest. Sophomore guard Brendan Till contributed his first three points of the day with a three-pointer from beyond the arc, along with freshman Padraic Brady who sunk his own trey, rounding out the scoring for the Blue and Gold.

At the horn, the final would be 93–68 Bombers. The Bombers were led by Flanagan’s 21 points, topping his previous career-high of 20, which came on Feb. 6 of last season. The South Hill squad enters the Thanksgiving break at 3–1, with a game against rival SUNY Cortland looming at 6 p.m. Dec. 1 at Ben Light Gymnasium.

Reed Keller can be reached at rrknyg10@gmail.com or via Twitter: @Reed_Keller