OSWEGO, N.Y. – The top-seeded Oswego State men’s basketball team survived an overtime thriller 84-83 against No. 5 Buffalo State in Max Ziel Gymnasium on Friday night.
Oswego advances to the title game for the third-straight year and will face No. 3 Oneonta – who defeated No. 2 Brockport in the first semifinal game on Friday – at 4 p.m. on Saturday.
In a game that featured 25 lead changes and 14 ties, Laker senior Brian Sortino was the difference maker. The Fairport, N.Y. native set a new career-mark and gymnasium-record with 48 points, just one shy of Oswego’s program record. The previous Max Ziel Gymnasium record was 41 points by Jim Bason in overtime over New Paltz on Feb. 22, 1974. Oswego’s program record remains 49 by Ron Davis at Potsdam on Feb. 19, 1959.
Sortino was unconscious in the second half and overtime, shooting 66.7% from the floor to the tune of 34 points. The senior was nearly perfect from the charity stripe, missing just one in each half for a 17-for-19 night. A double-double was almost in Sortino’s grasp as well, collecting nine boards to go along with six assists and a steal.
It was the last of Sortino’s assists that meant the most, as Oswego trailed 83-82 in the waning seconds of overtime. When the guard was double-teamed between midcourt and the arc, he had the wherewithal to find Jamir Ferebee wide-open behind the defense. Sortino was able to leap and toss a pass over the Bengals defense for an easy Ferebee layup. With the ball trying to go down, Buffalo State defenders slapped the backboard and were whistled for goaltending, giving the Lakers an 84-83 lead with 7.6 seconds remaining.
Buffalo State drew a nice play in the final timeout, winding up with a wide-open look for three at the buzzer. The shot fell just short, leaving the No. 1 seed with the ability to play at least one more day.
Ferebee finished the night with 14 points and seven rebounds while junior classmate Ian Schupp cashed in 12 points, all beyond the arc. Senior Keith Tyson was critical on the glass, collecting a game-high 11 boards, seven of which came on offense. Oswego held the rebounding advantage in the game, 41-36.
The Lakers were opportunistic in the tilt, turning 13 Bengal turnovers into 21 points. Buffalo State was only able to turn Oswego over seven times, resulting in just eight points.
Oswego is now 20-6 on the year while Buffalo State ends its year at 17-9.