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Cortland Withstands Big Potsdam Rally

CORTLAND, N.Y. -The SUNY Potsdam men's basketball team (17-5, 12-3 SUNYAC) nearly came back from a 19-point deficit, but fell to the SUNY Cortland Red Dragons (14-7, 8-6 SUNYAC) 93-88 on Friday evening. The Bears came within two, but the Red Dragons were able to hold them off with free-throw shooting. Sophomore forward Isaiah Brown (Westside Queens, N.Y./Nia Prep) led the Bears with 33 points and nine rebounds. Senior guard Jayquan Thomas (Hollis, N.Y./Richmond Hill) finished with 19 points. For Cortland, junior forward Eric Edwards (Binghamton/Binghamton) led the way with 30 points and seven rebounds. Sophomore forward Austin Grunder (Trumansburg/Charles O. Dickerson) posted 24 points and 19 rebounds. Grunder opened up the scoring with a pull up jumper on the first possession of the night. Grunder began to get hot, going on to score the first 14 points for the Red Dragons. He ended his run with a three in transition at 14:52. After Cortland led 14-7, senior captain Aaron Armstrong (Lisbon, N.Y./Madrid-Waddington) completed a three-point play after finishing through contact. Armstrong scored four points with six rebounds and four assists.

At the halfway point, Brown's two free throws helped the Bears tie the game at 20. At 8:48, Brown dribbled the length of the court for a dunk in transition, giving the Bears their first lead of the night at 24-22. The Red Dragons quickly reclaimed the lead as junior guard Ben Walters (Lockport/Starpoint) hit a 3-pointer from the left corner. Grunder got a layup inside at the 3:07 mark, and it would be the last basket of the half as both teams battled defensively. The Red Dragons led the Bears 40-31 at halftime. The second half began with 3-pointers from both teams. First with Thomas' shot off the pass from senior captain Danny Delsol-Lowry (Queens, N.Y./Queens High School of Teaching). It was followed by junior guard Jake Disanto's (Victor/Victor) three where his shot fake got him open from the left corner. Disanto continued Cortland's momentum, scoring again after a drive. The Red Dragons proceeded to go on a 16-8 run, ignited by a jumper from senior guard Brendan Fitzpatrick (Plainview/Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK). The run helped Cortland build the largest lead of the game at 19. Towards the midway point, the teams traded baskets. A layup from Delsol-Lowry helped the Bears within single-digits at 68-59, but the Red Dragons were able to keep them at arms length with free throws.

With 4:34 left, the home team led 80-69. At this point Brown started a run with a pair of free throws and a pull up jumper. On the Bears next possession, Thomas got a pass inside to freshman forward Ahamadou Sillah (Bronx, N.Y./Kipp NYC College Prep), who finished with the contact and completed a three-point play. Sillah continued the run with a steal on the next possession, which led to Thomas drawing a foul.

Thomas drained both shots at the line, bringing the Bears to within six. With 2:03 left, after a turnover by Cortland, Thomas came on the other end and banked in a 3-pointer with a hand in his face. Grunder responded on the other end for the Red Dragons, catching his own miss and tipping it in. With :26 left, Brown made it a two-point game with a jump shot.

The Bears were then forced to foul and Fitzpatrick and Grunder sealed the game with points from the line. Freshman center Tyrese Baptiste (Brooklyn, N.Y./Eagle Academy II) had 11 points and six rebounds for the Bears. Delsol-Lowry and junior forward Dante Viskovich (Massena, N.Y./Massena) finished with seven each. Disanto added 16 points for Cortland. Fitzpatrick chipped in with 10 points, five rebounds, and eight helpers. Cortland shot 47.1-percent from the field and 35.5-percent from behind the arc, while Potsdam shot 42.3-percent from the field and 30.8-percent from downtown. The Bears continue their road trip tomorrow for a 4 p.m. matchup against the Oswego State Lakers.

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