OSWEGO, N.Y. – Hayden Ward caught a three-quarter court pass on the wing, made two moves and hit an open 19-foot jumper with 0.4 seconds left to earn the Oswego State men’s basketball team a 69-67 win over visiting Cortland at Laker Hall on Saturday night.
The Lakers (12-3, 8-0 SUNYAC) scored the final 11 points in the final three minutes of action to complete the rally that gives them a 2.5-game lead over everyone in the SUNYAC standings with 10 games to play.
Oswego State jumped out to a big 10-0 lead to open the game, as Cortland (11-5, 6-3 SUNYAC) missed their first seven shots and had two turnovers before scoring their first points.
However, Cortland, which averages 22 three-point attempts per game, hit five of 10 in the first half, allowing them claw its way back to a 17-17 tie with 9:12 left in the opening half. A 13-0 run moved the Red Dragons in front 24-17 with their final three-pointer of the half.
While Ward’s (Jr., Montauk, N.Y.) 11 first-half points were a key part in the early-game run, it was Chad Burridge (Sr., Hannibal, N.Y.) scoring all six of his first-half points in a 9-0 Laker run to get the home team back into the lead. However, two plays late in the half helped Cortland carry a 31-29 lead into halftime.
After Ward and Red Dragon big man Dan Sternkopf each picked their third fouls, the teams traded the lead for the first nine minutes of the second half.
But Cortland started to heat up from the outside again. Hitting three triples in a 90-second span, the Dragons went in front 53-51, a margin that held up until the closing seconds.
Ryan Sheridan (Sr., Blauvelt, N.Y.) hit a deep three pointer with 4:32 to cut the lead to 59-58, but Cortland responded with a 8-0 run over the next minute.
However, momentum changed once more, as Sheridan scored with 2:55 left and Sean Michele (Sr., East Rochester, N.Y.) drilled a three with 2:07 following a Cortland turnover.
The Red Dragons missed their next two field goal attempts late in the shot clock and the Lakers made them pay.
Burridge drew a foul and cut the lead to 67-65 with free throws and then tied the game up with 37 seconds left when he found open space in the lane against the Cortland zone.
The Red Dragons looked to break the tie with one final shot, but they lost track of time and never got a shot off, giving the ball back to the Lakers with 2.3 seconds left on the clock.
After a timeout, Burridge took the ball out of bounds along the baseline. He faked a short pass and threw it long to Ward. The junior took time to get around a defender before knocking down the game-winner from just inside the three-point arc.
Ward finished with a team-high 18 points, while Chris Gilkes (Jr., Syracuse, N.Y.) chipped in 14. Michele and Burridge each added 12 and Sheridan finished with 10 points.
Jeremy Smith’s 21 and Jesse Winter’s 20 led Cortland, who finished the game 11-of-19 from three-point land.
Burridge’s team-high nine rebounds also move him past his brother, Mat, for second place all-time in school history in the statistic.
The Lakers will put the second-longest conference winning streak in the nation at 22 games on the line again Tuesday when they travel to Geneseo for an 8 p.m. game.