January 6, 2011


Skidding ends for Dragons

PITTSFORD — Hello to the New Year, good-bye six-game losing streak.
That’s how the SUNY Cortland men celebrated their return to the basketball court on Wednesday night, getting a career-high 22 points from sophomore guard Jesse Winter — including the go-ahead free throws with 1:35 remaining — to knock off host Nazareth College 53-50.
The Red Dragons improved to 3-6 on the season with their first victory since Nov. 20 in the opening round of the NYU Tip-Off Tournament. While Winter had the hot hand, making eight of his 11 shots including a trio of 3-pointers, freshman center Kevin McMahon and sophomore Harrison Hefele had 12-point contributions in Cortland’s opening game of second semester play.
Just four players accounted for Cortland’s 53-point total, those the fewest points scored in a Red Dragons victory since beating Hartwick 51-40 back in January of 2005. Sophomore guard Jeremy Smith added seven points to round out the Cortland scoring ledger.
Nazareth, directed by former Oswego head coach Kevin Broderick, was facing Cortland for only the third time overall and the first time in 26 years. With the non-conference loss on their Kindera Gymnasium home floor, the Golden Flyers are 7-3 on the season.
To go along with his 22 points, Winter had five rebounds, four assists and blocked two shots for the Red Dragons. McMahon led the team with six rebounds and blocked a potential game-tying 3-point Nazareth shot in the final seconds to secure the victory.
Brad Ford and Jason Corletta led Nazareth with 14 points each. Ford made 6-of-8 shots and pulled down 10 rebounds. Dan Waldbillig finished with eight points and a game-high 13 rebounds.
Cortland trailed 20-13 wit 8:46 left in the first half, but fought back and was down only 22-21 at halftime. Nazareth opened up a 28-21 lead in the first 3:23 of the second half, but 3-pointers by Hefele and Winter and another Hefele jumper put Cortland up 29-28 with 14:46 remaining.
Cortland grabbed its largest lead at 35-30 on a Winter foul shot with 12:19 left, but the Golden Flyers scored six straight, the last four by Waldbillig, to regain the lead. The Red Dragons were behind 47-44 with 2:44 left after a Ford lay-up, but McMahon nailed a jumper from the left baseline with 2:31 on the clock and, following a Nazareth turnover, Winter hit the two foul shots that gave Cortland the lead for good.
Nazareth missed a tough driving shot on its next possession and Hefele buried a 3-pointer with 1:01 left to put Cortland up four. Tyshun Stevens answered quickly with a conventional three-point play, fouling out Winter in the process, and Cortland’s lead was just 51-50 with about 50 seconds left.
On Cortland’s ensuing possession, Smith drove one-on-one against a defender, pulled up at the right elbow and hit a jumper with one second on the shot clock to extend the lead to three with 16 seconds left.
Nazareth missed twice in the final 10 seconds, with the second attempt a Corletta 3-pointer that McMahon blocked to end the game.
Cortland shot 55 percent from the floor in the second half and 47 percent for the game. The Red Dragons held Nazareth to 35 percent accuracy from the field.
Cortland will host SUNY Athletic Conference rival Oswego on Saturday at 8 p.m. at Corey Gymnasium.
— Cortland’s Hefele was named the SUNYAC Basketball Co-Player of the Week for the period ending Jan. 2. The award covers all games played from Dec. 13 to Jan. 2. Hefele shared the honor with Oneonta senior center Derek Hahn.
Hefele recorded career highs of 18 points and seven rebounds in Cortland’s 75-68 loss at SUNYIT on Dec. 18. He made 5-of-10 shots from three-point range in the contest.


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