Laker men’s basketball team hangs on to nip RIT

OSWEGO, N.Y. – The Oswego State men’s basketball team (9-1) held on to defeat RIT (4-6), 63-59, after leading by 12 points at halftime in what was a tale of two halves on Saturday at Max Ziel Gymnasium.

The Lakers looked to take control early as Hayden Ward (Sr., Montauk, N.Y.) dominated the paint, scoring 11 of the team’s first 21 points. With about six minutes left in the stanza, Alex Rawa (Fr., Locust, Valley, N.Y.) chipped in back-to-back three pointers from the left wing to push the Oswego State lead to nine.

As the first half came to a close, a three-pointer by Sean Michele (Sr., East Rochester, N.Y.) just before the buzzer from the right wing gave the Lakers a 12-point advantage.

The Oswego State lead, which grew to 16 in the first two minutes of action in the second half, was quickly erased by a 19-4 Tiger run triggered by Eric Travis, who poured in nine of his game-high 23 during the rally.

Michele tallied six assists in the game, including two no-look passes late in the second half, which slowed the RIT run and gave Oswego State the momentum with 6:00 remaining in the contest.

RIT tried to keep it close as a late three-pointer by Jameel Balenton cut the lead down to 60-58, but that was as close as the Tigers would get.  As they did the night before, the Lakers buckled down on defense and sealed the victory.

Ward led the Lakers with 20 points and seven rebounds, stretching his streak of scoring 20 or more to seven consecutive games. Brenden Nollet (Sr., Hannibal, N.Y.) added 11 points and seven rebounds.

Coach Leone’s squad shot 48 percent from the field (25-of-52) while the Laker bench also provided a spark as it outscored the Tiger bench, 20-2.

Oswego State returns to action Tuesday at 8 p.m. as it travels to Oneonta to take on the Red Dragons in its return to SUNYAC play.