Hilbert rallied from a 12-point deficit in the final eight minutes of the game to force overtime and then scored the final four points of OT to earn a 80-77 victory over Alfred State in a tight battle on Wednesday.
The Pioneers started off fast and led 24-12 halfway through the 1st half and led 33-20 with just over five minutes left. Hilbert cut into the lead trailed 35-29 at the break. Five minutes into the 2nd half, the Hawks tied it at 46-46 but Alfred State responded 19 to 7 to make it 65-53 with 7:25 remaining. With 25 seconds left Tyler Aquilina capped the comeback by hitting a three-pointer to tie it 71-71. Both teams had a chance to win it in regulation but could not get the game winner.
In the extra session, Alexshay Pearce (Rochester/Charlotte) hit a three-pointer to start the scoring and the Pioneers took a 75-71 after a foul shot by Dante Jordan (New York/Law & Public) with 3:32 remaining. The Hawks then went on a 5-0 run to grab a 77-76 lead with just under a minute remaining. After a Hilbert foul with 49 seconds remaining Juwan Toliver (Buffalo/McKinley) was fouled and hit two foul shots to give the blue & gold back the lead. After an offensive team rebound, Aquino was fouled with 17 seconds and connected on both foul shots. Alfred State turned the ball over in their final two possessions and HIlbert hit two of four foul shots to seal the victory.
Toliver led the Pioneers (13-7) with 19 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists. Pearce finished with 16 points, Jordan had 12 points and 11 boards, and Marcus Rhett (Middletown) finished with 11. The Pioneers shot 54.5% from the field, 30.8% from three, and 72.2% from the line. The Pioneers held a 45 to 33 advantage on the boards but was slowed down by 28 turnovers.
Aquilino came off the bench for the Hawks (12-8) and led five players in double figures with 17. Masia Phillips finished with 15, Joseph Braniecki had 14, Nicholas Parucki chipped in 12, and Hunter Martineau added 10. Hilbert shot 37.8% from the field, 33.3% from three, and hit 72% of their foul shot attempts.
The Pioneers have a week off before heading back to Buffalo to battle Villa Maria. Opening tip is slated for 8 p.m.