Marcus Rhett (Middletown) followed up his own missed three pointer and hit the game winning shot as the horn rang to lift Alfred State to a 63-61 victory at SUNY Canton on Saturday afternoon. The Pioneers close out the regular season with a 16-9 record.
In a game that featured 16 lead changes and six ties, neither team led by more than eight points. Canton jumped out to a 12-4 lead in the first 4:35 of the contest but the Pioneers battled back to hold a 18-17 lead with just under eight minutes remaining in the half. Alfred State led 32-31 at the half and led 37-33 with 16:01 remaining before the Roos pushed back and tied the game at 44-44.
Canton led 57-52 with 4:07 left and 59-55 with 2:53 left but Alexshay Pearce (Rochester/Charlotte) hit a jump shot and Tahaij Lewis (Rochester/Greece Olympia) hit two foul shots to tie the game with 1:23 remaining. Rhett gave the Pioneers the two point lead with 46 seconds left after a Canton turnover. With 28 seconds left, Danny Santana hit two foul shots to tie it up once again.
Alfred State held the ball for the final shot. Rhett attempted a three with just under four seconds left that fell short and was able to grab the board and fire up an off balance jumper one foot inside the three-point line just before the horn rang to win it for the Pioneers.
Dante Jordan (New York/Law & Public Service) led the Pioneers with 16 points and nine boards while Pearce finished with 14 points. Lewis came of the bench and chipped in 10, Juwan Toliver (Buffalo/McKinley) had eight points, and Rhett added six points (four coming in the last minute) and six rebounds.
Adrian Williams led Canton with 19 points and nine boards while Ibu Smith had 13. Danny Santana finished with 12 and Deon Foster added 10.
The Pioneers shot 38.8% from the field, 30% from three, and 66.7% from the foul line while the Roos shot 33.3% from the field, 28.1% (9 for 32), and 80% from the line.
The Pioners head to the ACAA Tournament next Saturday at Pine Manor College. Alfred State has earned the #1 seed and will play the hosts in the second semifinal at 2 p.m.