A quick start, solid shooting, and strong rebounding weren't enough for the Tompkins Cortland Community College men's basketball team Saturday as the Panthers came up short in their upset bid against #6-ranked Mohawk Valley Community College. By a final score of 86-66, the Panthers have now lost three straight to fall to 2-5 overall and 2-4 in Region III. Mohawk Valley is 9-1 overall and 6-1 in Region III.
The game started well for the home team, with Tompkins Cortland scoring the first six points and keeping the Hawks off the board for the first five minutes. The margin remained six points at the midpoint of the half before Mohawk Valley used a 9-2 run to take their first lead of the game at 17-16 with 9:11 left in the half. Three minutes later, the score was tied at 23-23 before the pace picked up to close the half. After combining to score six points in the game's first six minute, the two teams combined to score 30 points over the final six minutes, with Mohawk Valley taking a 40-36 lead into the break.
The second half started with an old-fashion three-point play by Omari Lane (Newburgh/Newburgh Free Academy) followed by a basket by Jaquan Baron (Bronx/Career in Sport H.S.) to put the Panthers back in front less than a minute into the second half. The lead didn't last long, as Mohawk Valley went on a 17-4 run to move ahead 57-45. The Panthers were able to cut the lead to eight at 60-52 with 10:55 left, but the Hawks kept the lead in double figures most of the rest of the way. Mohawk Valley sealed the win by limiting the Panthers to a single point over the final 4:30 to take a 10-point lead to a 20-point win.
Most of the statistics were similar between the two teams, with the exception of turnovers. Field-goal percentage (42.4% for Tompkins Cortland; 44.4% for Mohawk Valley), three-point shooting (31.3% to 33.3%), free-throw shooting (68.6% to 63.6%), and rebounds (43 to 37) were very close, but the Panthers struggled with ball security. Each of the 11 Panthers to see playing time turned the ball over at least once with the team totaling 25 turnovers compared to just 11 by the Hawks.
Lane had another big game, leading the team with 28 points and 7 rebounds. Devonte Henry (Brooklyn/Boys and Girls H.S.) added 10 points.
The Panthers finish the semester with a pair of road games, starting with a trip to Finger Lakes Community College on Wednesday.