Niagara Gazette — The Niagara County Community College men’s and women’s basketball teams swept Cortland CC in their season openers Saturday as part of the Region III Crossover Classic tournament in Cortland.
While both teams earned wins, they did so in very different fashion. The men needed a last-second layup to sneak by, 77-76, while the women used a 17-0 run to open the second half to cruise to a 66-35 win.
The men battled tough all night, with neither team leading by more than 8 at any point. Tied at 32 at half, the Thunderwolves (1-0) trailed by 6 with 2 minutes left.
“We asked them at the 2-minute mark if the guys believed we could win,” said men’s coach Bill Beilein. “We got yes’s from everybody. The guys bought in, and they believed in each other.”
With 2.5 seconds left and trailing by 76-75, freshman Sheldon Zablotny hit sophomore EJ Sandoval with a full-court pass to the 3-point line. Sandoval cut straight to the hoop and finished a finger roll between two defenders for the winning score.
Freshman Eli Jones had 24 points and six rebounds, while sophomore Jordan Street (Niagara Falls/Niagara Falls) had 17 points, six rebounds, three assists, three steals and a block — all in the second half. Sandoval added 10 points, eight rebounds and four assists.
The women’s team needed no such heroics. Kristine Ripson (Lewiston-Porter) led the Thunderwolves (1-0) with 21 points, 16 boards, five blocks and five steals, while Jaclyn Welch added 21 points and four steals.
Both teams play Tompkins-Cortland CC today. The women tip off at 11 a.m., while the men are schedule to start at 1 p.m.
Buff State 59, Hartwick 41
Mike Doherty (Tonawanda/Kenmore East) had four catches for 158 yards and two scores, while Sherman Nelson (Buffalo/Cardinal O’Hara) added five for 123 and a TD as the Bengals won their third straight in an Empire 8 contest.