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Late three-pointer lifts Utica over Saxons, 63-61
2/10/12

ALFRED, NY-The Alfred University men’s basketball team fell for the second time this season to visiting Utica College Friday evening, in the McLane Center. With the loss the Saxons fall to 13-9 overall and 5-7 in Empire 8 Conference play, while Utica improves to 8-15 overall and 4-8 in Empire 8 action.

In the first half AU shot 33 percent from the field and 21 percent from behind the arc as Utica shot 39 percent and 33 percent. The Saxons headed into intermission trailing 37-30.

The second half proved to be better offensively for AU as they outscored Utica 31-26, The Pioneers were able to capitalize on AU miscues and converted 15 points compared to Alfred’s two points off turnovers. Despite the miscues the Saxons held a one point advantage (60-61) with ten seconds remaining in the contest when senior forward Pat Hollenbeck (Ontario, NY/Wayne) converted on a layup from senior guard Josh Parker (Tonawanda, NY/Sweet Home). Utica’s Reggie German converted from behind the arc with three seconds left to give the Pioneers a 63-61 advantage. German’s basket proved to be the game-winner as the Saxons where unable to get a shot off with less than two seconds remaining.

For the game, Alfred would shoot 31 percent from the field and 20 percent from beyond the arc compared to Utica’s 34 and 20 percent. The Pioneers finished the contest holding a commanding 55-35 advantage in rebounds.

Parker finished with a team-high 15 points and added six assists, five rebounds, a block, and a steal to pace the Saxons. Senior forward Derek Lewis (Horseheads, NY/Horseheads (Corning CC)) followed with 12 points, four rebounds, and two steals. Sophomore forward Mike Branche (Schenectady, NY/Colonie) finished with a team-high seven rebounds and had six points, and Hollenbeck chipped in with eight points, six boards, and a pair of blocks.

Chris Jeffers had a game-high 18 rebounds and led the Pioneers in scoring with 15 points. Jevin McClendon, Jeff Ward, and Matt Baldwin all scored in double digits with 10, 12, and 13 points respectively.

The Saxons return to actions Saturday, Feb. 11 at 4p.m. when the host the visiting Ithaca Bombers in the McLane Center.