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Ithaca edges AU men’s basketball team
2/12/11

ALFRED, NY — Visiting Ithaca College hung on to defeat the Alfred University men’s basketball team, 85-81, Saturday afternoon at the McLane Center. Five weeks after dropping a lopsided 104-51 decision at Ithaca, AU put a scare into the Empire 8 Conference-leading Bombers.

The Saxons (8-15, 3-11 Empire 8), behind 12 first-half points from senior guard Gary Kwiecien (Perry, NY/Perry), led Ithaca 44-42 at intermission and trailed by only a point with 9:14 left before Ithaca went on a 11-2 run over 3:28 to take a 10-point lead (72-62) with 5:46 remaining in regulation. AU closed to within two points (83-81) with 13 seconds left before Ithaca’s Andrei Otzemel hit a pair of free throws with nine seconds left to put the game away.

Ithaca (17-5, 10-3 Empire 8) shot 46 percent from the floor to 43 percent for the Saxons and outrebounded Alfred, 49-34, with 19 boards coming on the offensive end. That helped offset Alfred’s 41-percent shooting from three-point range (nine of 22) and 78 percent shooting from the free throw line (14 of 18). Ithaca made only four three-point tries but connected on 19 foul shots.

Kwiecien finished with a game-high 25 points on eight-of-16 shooting and led the team with seven rebounds and four assists. Senior guard Mike Stopera (Scotia, NY/Scotia-Glenville) had 14 points and four assists; junior guard Josh Parker (Tonawanda, NY/Sweet Home) made three three-pointers and scored 11 points; and sophomore center Bryan Bobo (Ontario, NY/Wayne) had nine points and six rebounds.

Sean Rossi (eight assists, nine-of-18 shooting) and Phil Barera (12 rebounds, eight-of-12) each scored 19 points to lead Ithaca. Chris Cruz-Rivas chipped in with 14 points and 11 rebounds.

Alfred plays its season home finale next Friday, Feb. 18, at 8 p.m. against Empire 8 foe Nazareth. The Saxons conclude their season the following day, at 4 p.m. at RIT.