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Ithaca edges the AU men’s basketball team 73-71
2/08/09


ITHACA, NY -- The Alfred University men’s basketball team lost a thrilling Empire 8 basketball contest to host Ithaca College, 73-71, Sunday afternoon.

The Saxons (7-13, 2-9 Empire 8) were down by 10 at halftime, 40-30, but scored the first 11 points of the second half to take a one-point lead , 43-42, with 15:20 left. The game would stay close the rest of the way, and with one-minute remaining the score was tied, 70-70, before the Bombers’s Chris Cruz hit a lay-up with 38 second left to give Ithaca a 72-70 lead.

AU sophomore guard Mike Stopera (Scotia, NY/Scotia-Glenville) had a chance to tie the contest when he stepped to the line for two with five seconds left. Stopera missed the first and made the second and then Ithaca’s Brendan Rogers made one of two from the line with four seconds left to close out the game’s scoring.

Alfred shot much better in the second half than the first, sinking 53 percent of its baskets after intermission after connecting on only 35 percent in the first half. AU only committed five turnovers to the Bombers’ eight, and both teams show well from three-point range, with Ithaca making 10 long-range shots and AU seven.

Stopera led the Saxons with a career-high 32 points, three rebounds and two assists. Junior forward Jared Patt (Nelson, PA/ Elkland Area) netted 14 points, pulled down a team-high eight rebounds and dished out three assists, while junior guard Bobby Barry (Duanesburg, NY/Duanesburg) and freshmen forward Patrick Hollenbeck (Ontario, NY/Wayne Central) chipped in with eight and six points, respectively.

The Bombers (20-1, 11-1 Empire 8) were led by Sean Burton, who had a double-double with 28 points and 10 assists. Sean Leahy contributed 11 points and 10 rebounds.

Alfred is in action next on Tuesday, Feb 10, at 8 p.m when the Saxons host Nazareth.