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AU men’s basketball team falls in ECAC Championship game
2/29/12

CORTLAND, NY-Host SUNY Cortland topped the Alfred University men’s basketball team 76-69, Wednesday evening, in the ECAC Upstate Championship game.

With the loss the AU concludes the 2011-12 season with a 15-11 record, while the Red Dragons finish at 22-7 overall.

Both teams shot 41 percent from the floor in the first half as Cortland held a slight 33-30 advantage at intermission.

In the second half the Saxons would go on a 17-6 run over the course of seven minutes to claim a 57-54 advantage with 7:29 remaining. The Red Dragons responded quickly, regaining the lead )59-57) on a pair of three-pointers. The teams would trade baskets, before Cortland outscored the Saxons 14-6 over the final four-plus minutes of action. For the game, AU held 46-44 percent shooting advantage over the hosts, while Cortland held a 36-31 advantage in rebounds.

Senior guard Josh Parker (Tonawanda, NY/Sweet Home) netted a game-high 19 points, while pulling down four boards and dishing out a game-best six assists in his final game as a Saxon. Sophomore forward Mike Branche (Schenectady, NY/Colonie) finished with 13 points, five rebounds and an assist, and senior forward Derek Lewis (Horseheads, NY/Horseheads (Corning CC)) (game-high nine rebounds), junior forward Sean Curran (Honesdale, PA/Honesdale), and junior point guard Tim Costello (Windsor, NY/Windsor) (five rebounds and two assists) each netted eight points.

Jeremy Smith recorded 19 points, two rebounds, two assists, and three steals to lead the Red Dragons. Harrison Hefele and Jesse Winter each scored 16 points and had five assists, while pulling down six and four rebounds respectively.

The Saxons' 15 victories nearly doubles the wins from last season, when AU went 8-17. It is the most wins in a season in Dale Wellman's four-year tenure as head coach and the most for a Saxon team since the 1998-99 squad went 18-10 and lost in the ECAC Upstate Championship title game.