MVP Sortino Carries Lakers To Tip-Off Victory

ELMIRA, N.Y. – The Oswego State men’s basketball team defeated the Morrisville State Mustangs, 61-59, to win the 2015 Elmira College Tip-Off Tournament Saturday.

With the tournament victory, the Lakers improve to 3-0 while the Mustangs (3-1) drop their first game of the season.

Brian Sortino rolled in a layup with less than a minute remaining in regulation to give the Lakers a four-point lead.

Kyle Covley then knocked down a free throw with 18.2 seconds left to make it 61-59 and grabbed a rebound as time expired after a Mustang 3-point attempt for the victory fell short.

The Lakers trailed throughout all of the first half as they struggled to knock down the deep ball, going 1-for-7 in the opening 20 minutes. Immediately beginning the second, Oswego went on an 8-0 run to claim a six-point lead, with all eight points coming off Sortino’s hands.

Sortino finished with a game high 29 points on 53.0% shooting (10-for-19), including four 3-pointers on his way to claiming the tournament’s Most Valuable Player award.

Walter Sampson, who came off a strong performance in the opening round game followed it up with another gem. The senior guard nailed four of his eight shots taken for 11 points and also passed his way to four assists. Sampson’s great play earned him a place on the All-Tournament team alongside Sortino.

Oswego did most of its damage on offense in the paint, tallying 24 points down low, which was 10 points more than the Mustangs.

Another key stat for the Lakers came from the defense, as the team forced 11 turnovers. Turning defense into offense, Oswego turned the 11 mishaps into 13 points.

On the other hand, the team played focused and turned over the ball a season low six times.

Covley (6), Mark Candelario (6) and Dustin Pond (4) combined to grab nearly half of Oswego’s rebounds, accumulating 16 boards.

Meanwhile, Alex Rawa contributed with three 3-pointers and 11 points.

Oswego will head north to continue its season opening road trip against the Clarkson Golden Knights, beginning at 6 p.m. on Tuesday.