Pioneers top local rival SUNYIT
UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Five different players scored in double-figures for Utica College as the Pioneers outscored visiting SUNYIT by 16 in the second half on their way to a 97-80 victory in non conference action at the Clark Athletic Center Gymnasium Tuesday night. Junior transfer Connor Maisch (Kingston, NY/John A. Coleman) led Utica for the second straight game with 21 points, while junior forward Chris Jeffers (Albany, NY/Bishop Maginn) chipped in with 16 points and a game-high ten rebounds to help UC advance its record to 1-1 on the year.
SUNYIT, playing in its season-opener, was led by a 21 point performance from junior gunner Alex Drake, who knocked down 5-of-10 3-pointers and added five steals and five assists for the visitors. Desmian Greer also chipped in with 20 points and five assists for SUNYIT (0-1).
Trailing 16-14 seven minutes into the contest, the Pioneers went on a 13-0 run in a span of 3:21, sparked by Aaron Nevins (Buffalo, NY/Canisius)' six points and Maisch's five points to give the Pioneers 27-16 lead with 9:18 left in the first half of play. Nevins, the reigning Empire 8 Conference Rookie of the Year, finished the day with a season-high 20 points and five assists.
The Wildcats responded with a 16-2 run in a span of 2:38 to take a 34-31 lead with 6:05 left in the opening half. UC outscored the Wildcats 17-13 in the final 5:42 of the first half to take a one point lead, 48-47, into the locker room at intermission.
There were 11 lead changes in the first 21:50 of the contest before the Pioneers used a 17-8 run in a span of 7:26 early in the second half to secure the lead for good.
UC was leading by eight points, 82-74, with 4:36 left in regulation when it went on a 14-2 run over the course of the next 3:47 to stretch the Pioneer lead to a game-high 20 points, 96-76, with under a minute to paly.
Utica shot 56.3% from the floor (36-of-64) and went 20-for-24 from the charity stripe, while the Wildcats used precision from behind the arc, shooting 11-for-24 form 3-point land to keep the home team at bay.
Utica scored 30 points off of 16 SUNYIT turnovers and the Pioneers also blocked ten shots on the defensive end. SUNYIT got itself into foul trouble early and before the end of the contest two of the Wildcats top scoring threats, T'Andre Richardson and Alex Drake, had to leave the game with five fouls. UC held Richardson, a sophomore from nearby Proctor High School, to just eight points and eight rebounds.
Senior big man Jeff Ward (Ossining, NY/Ossining High School) added 14 points on 4-for-5 shooting from the floor for UC, while Marion Lewis (Bronx, NY/Lehman) gave the Pioneers productive minutes off the bench, scoring 13 points and grabbing six boards.
De'Ondray Tape and Derek Rowe each added ten points for the Wildcats.
Utica returns to the hardwood on Saturday when it travels to Scott Field House at Hamilton College to participate in the Continentals Thanksgiving Tournament. The Pioneers will square off against New York University at 5 p.m. in their tournament opener. The Wildcats will take eight days off before traveling to Union College to take on the Dutchmen at 8 p.m.