The Alfred State men's basketball team won a back and forth battle with Thomas More, 68-64, to advance to the ACAA Championship game tomorrow. The contest featured 14 lead changes and seven ties.
Ryan Gentile (Spencerport) had a huge 1st half as he hit five 3-pointers and scored 17 points. The Pioneers led by as nine in the 1st half and led 35-28 at the break.
Gentile hit his 6th 3-pointer to give the Pioneers a 40-30 lead with 16:33 but the Saints went on a 13-2 run to grab a 43-42 lead. The game went back and forth for the next eight minutes and was tied at 50-50 with 6:09 left. Tahaij Lewis (Rochester/Greece Olympia) hit a pair of free throws with 50 seconds remaining to give Alfred State a 5-point lead. TMU responded with a field goal and, after a quick foul, the Pioneers missed a pair of free throws and held a thin three-point lead. Thomas More missed a three-point shot and a foul on the ensuing rebound put ASC back on the line. The Pioneers couldn't add to their lead after a pair of missed foul shots and the Saints rushed down the court and made a layup to pull within one point with 7.4 second remaining. Josh Reding (Spencerport) was fouled on the inbounds pass and made both free throws. TMU had one last hope when fouled bringing the ball down the court and Damion King hit the first shot before intentionally missing the second without hitting the rim for a turnover. A foul put Juwan Tolliver (Buffalo/McKinley) on the line and he made both shots to insure the Pioneer win.
Gentile led the blue & gold with 20 points while Lewis and Toliver both finished with 14. Lewis had a double-double as he added 11 boards while Toliver passed out six assists. Dante Jordan (New York/Law & Public) finsihed with 10.
The Pioneers shot 45.1% (23 for 51) for the game from the field, 38.1% (8 for 21) from three, and 58.3% (14 for 24) from the line. They held a slight 36 to 32 advantage on the boards.
King led the Saints (16-9) with 21 points while Ralph Sotone and Bertsch both finished with 12. Thomas More shot 43.1% (25 for 58) from the floor, 35.7% (10 for 28) from three, and 66.7% (4 for 6) from the foul line.
The blue & gold will take on SUNY Delhi in the ACAA Finals tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. Delhi roared back to down Pine Manor 76-75 in another close contest.
Alfred State and Delhi met twice during the regular season with each team winning on their home court.