Casey Ryder, Staff Writer |
This past Friday, the men’s basketball team defeated archrivals Cortland 86-72 to improve their record in the conference to 11-4.
Cortland came out the stronger of the two sides going up 4-0 thanks to a pair of field goals from junior forward Austin Grunder. 30 seconds after Grunder’s second basket, Daniel Derice put Oneonta on the board with a layup.
In the opening ten minutes of the first half, the game went back and forth as both teams exchanged buckets. For Cortland, Grunder was an absolute menace that Oneonta struggled to deal with. He would ultimately finish the first half with 20 points. On our side, junior guard Dylan Trombley was a standout finishing the first half with thirteen points. Right behind him was junior forward Michael Ortale Jr. who finished the half with 11 points.
The latter stages of the first half are where Oneonta began to dominate the game and build a significant lead. With just over 10 minutes to go in the half, Oneonta were trailing by 6. However, this all began to change with a layup from senior Sean Nolan that cut the lead to 4. Nolan’s layup was the beginning of an 8-0 run that the team would go on for two minutes and 32 seconds, culminating in a four-point lead.
For the remainder of the first half, this trend would continue thanks to Nolan, Trombley and the rest of the Oneonta offense firing on all cylinders. Oneonta outscored Cortland 18-14 for the remainder of the half, giving them a 39-31 lead at halftime.
In the beginning of the second half, Oneonta would continue their dominance and as a result they led 47-35 with only three and a half minutes into the second half, forcing Cortland into a timeout.
After the brief stoppage in play, the team continued to build on their lead because of sophomore point guard Frankie Williams who did an excellent job in conducting the team on the offensive end of the court. Likewise, senior forward Daniel Derice was highly effective for the team on the offensive end, finishing the game with 17 points.
For all the good things that our boys did in the second half to earn a 12-point lead with nine and a half minutes remaining, one thing they couldn’t accomplish in the second half was stop Austin Grunder. The junior forward from Trumansburg was absolutely electric and without a doubt the best player on the court that night. He finished the game with 36 points and whatever problems Cortland had he certainly wasn’t one of them.
Thanks to Grunder’s contributions, Cortland cut the lead to five with three minutes and twenty-one seconds to go. However, Oneonta finished strong, outscoring them 7-0 for the remainder of the game to get the 86-72 victory.
The team now has two games remaining in the regular season, the first of which is tonight at 7:30 p.m. against Potsdam and the second being tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. against Plattsburgh. Both games are home at Dewar Arena. As we are in the closing stages of the regular season the team needs your support now more than ever. Get out and cheer on your Red Dragons!