Oswego State men’s basketball team drops a close one

OSWEGO, N.Y. – The Oswego State men’s basketball team (13-4, 6-4 SUNYAC) was outscored 9-3 down the stretch by Cortland (14-3, 8-2 SUNYAC) in a 75-69 conference loss on Saturday night at Max Ziel Gymnasium. Two Sean Michele (Sr., East Rochester, N.Y.) free throws knotted up the game at 66 with just under three minutes left, but the Lakers were unable to stop the Cortland offense down the stretch in their second home loss of the season.

Cortland’s Kevin McMahon struck first in the game, as the Red Dragons led a close contest for the first eight and a half minutes of the game. The Lakers nabbed their first lead when Hayden Ward (Sr., Montauk, N.Y.) cashed in on a layup with 11:27 left in the first half.

The two teams battled back and forth throughout the half, with the biggest lead held by either team being six. With just under four minutes left in the half, Daniel Ross (Jr., Syracuse, N.Y.) netted a trey that tied the game at 33 apiece. Cortland got the better of Oswego State during the remainder of the period, and led 39-35 at halftime.

The game was tied nine times in the second half alone, with both teams refusing to give an inch. After Michele tied the game at 66, Cortland’s Jeremy Smith buried a jumper to put the Red Dragons ahead for good. McMahon grabbed a huge defensive rebound at the other end, then followed it up with a layup seconds later to give Cortland a 70-66 lead with 1:43 remaining.

Chris Gilkes (Sr., Syracuse, N.Y.) responded to the McMahon bucket by drawing a foul, but made just one of two from the foul line. At the other end, McMahon corralled a Jesse Winter three-point try and converted an easy layup to spread the lead to five. Gilkes came up big again for the Lakers, getting to the rim for another basket before Oswego State called timeout with 48 seconds left.

A corner three by Winter sealed the deal for Cortland, putting the Lakers down six with 17 seconds left.

McMahon finished with 17 points on 8-for-12 shooting and also grabbed nine rebounds. Smith hit three shots from beyond the arc en route to 17 points, but it was Winter, the point guard, who led the Red Dragons in scoring with 18 points, while also registering five assists and three steals.

Gilkes and Ross scored 17 points each to lead the Lakers, and Ward tallied 15 points and 13 rebounds for another double-double. Freshman Kyle Covley (Penfield, N.Y.) was the only other Laker in double figures with 11 points, as he made 3-of-5 three-pointers just days after hitting a career-high seven against New Paltz.

The Lakers will look to rebound as they host Geneseo, which currently sits atop the SUNYAC standings, at 8 p.m.