OSWEGO, N.Y. – The Oswego State men’s basketball team (8-1) led by as many as 19 points against St. Lawrence (2-6) on Friday night at Max Ziel Gymnasium, but it took four clutch free throws from Sean Michele (Sr., East Rochester, N.Y.) to seal the 62-52 win.
Senior Hayden Ward (Montauk, N.Y.) led the Lakers with 22 points and seven rebounds, while also connecting on all five of his free throws. Fellow senior Chris Gilkes (Syracuse, N.Y.) contributed 13 points to help Oswego State to victory.
Both teams got off to a slow start, as only 23 points were scored in the first 10 minutes of the game. The Lakers then went on a 7-0 run to open up a 19-11 lead behind three-pointers from Kyle Covley (Fr., Penfield, N.Y.) and Alex Rawa (Fr., Locust Valley, N.Y.).
Two free throws by St. Lawrence’s Brady Condlin brought the score to 21-18 in favor of Oswego State with just under five minutes remaining in the half. However, the Lakers ended the half on a 10-2 run to grab a 31-20 lead at the break.
The Lakers ripped off a 10-0 run early in the second stanza to claim a 49-31 lead. Ward poured in 15 second-half points to keep Oswego State ahead of the Saints. With their backs against the wall and trailing by 19 points, the Saints went on a 15-2 run to narrow the lead to 58-52 with 2:30 left in the contest.
Condlin, who led the Saints with 14 points, and Matt McTague scored 13 of St. Lawrence’s 15 points during the comeback, giving the Saints hope late.
However, the Lakers locked down on defense to hold the Saints scoreless on their final three possessions after committing turnovers and Michele made all four free throws to push the lead back to 10 and seal the win.
Oswego State snapped a two-game losing streak to St. Lawrence, which handed the Lakers two of their nine combined lossed during the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons.
The Lakers are back in action Jan. 5 at 4 p.m., as they look to extend their five-game winning streak against RIT.