UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The Utica College men's basketball team shot 75% from the floor in the first half, and made 8-of-10 3-pointers, to take an insurmountable 56-27 halftime lead over visiting Hartwick College Tuesday night. The Pioneers hung on for the win in the second half and closed out the regular season sweep of the Hawks after a 90-77 victory on the hardwood at the Clark Athletic Center.
Junior Connor Miasch made his first five 3-pointers, all in the first half, on his way to breaking the school-record for 3-pointers in a single season. Maisch finished the night with 17 points and he now has 73 3-pointers this season. Five different players scored in double figures for Utica including Maisch, Chris Jeffers (Albany, NY/Bishop Maginn) (23), Matt Baldwin (Gloversville, NY/Gloversville) (19), Marion Lewis (Bronx, NY/Lehman) (14), and Aaron Nevins (Buffalo, NY/Canisius) (17). Baldwin was 5-for-6 from behind the arc on the evening, while Jeffers chipped in with eight rebounds.
West Canada native Jared Suderley netted a team-best 23 points and snagged five rebounds, while T. Godley chipped in with 17 points for the Hawks. Hartwick moved its record to 11-10 overall and 3-7 in the E8.
Utica currently sits in fourth place in the conference standings, but they have played two more conference games than fifth place Nazareth.
The Pioneers led from the opening bucket of the contest as they used a 21-9 run in the first 7:25 to jump out to a quick double-digit lead. Utica made eight of its first ten field goals in the run. Maisch and Jeffers combined for the Pioneers' next 13 points to give UC a 34-18 lead with 8:08 left in the first half of play.
Later on in the first half Maisch drilled two consecutive 3-pointers, much to the delight of the UC fan base, to put the Pioneers on top by 25 points, 48-23, with 4:17 left in the first half of play.
The Pioneers then outscored Hartwick 8-2 in the final 3:40 of the half to take a convincing 29 point lead into the locker room.
Hartwick slowly chipped away at the Pioneer lead in the second half, using a 25-17 run in the first 9:25 to cut Utica lead to 73-52 with 10:35 remaining. The Hawks were also able to outscore the Pioneers 22-12 in the final 7:32 of regulation, but it was not enough as Utica came away with the key 13 point Empire 8 victory to keep their playoff hopes intact.
Utica finished the day shooting 33-of-53 from the floor (62.3%) and 12-of-20 (60%) from behind the arc. Utica's largest lead of the contest was 30 points at the 16:03 ledger of the second half.
Utica returns to the action for its final home game of the regular season on Friday night when it hosts Houghton College on Senior Night at the Clark Athletic Center. The contest is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.