Playing at home against Mid-State Athletic Conference rival Cayuga Community College, the Tompkins Cortland Community College men's basketball team took advantage of an advantage in team depth to pull away for a 94-82 win on Wednesday. The win improves the Panthers to 4-8 overall and 2-3 in the MSAC while Cayuga drops to 5-6 overall and 1-2 in the MSAC.
The game was close early before Cayuga went on an 11-1 run to take its biggest lead of the game, 29-16 with just over seven minutes left in the first half. The Panthers responded with a 21-7 run, taking the lead on a dunk by Devonte Henry (Brooklyn/Boys and Girls H.S.) with 2:10 left in the half. The teams traded baskets the rest of the half, with the Panthers eventually taking a 43-40 lead into the break.
The home team's depth played a major impact in the second half. While Cayuga only dressed six players, and lost one to fouls midway through the second half, the Panthers played ten players, with six scoring in double figures. After Cayuga came back to tie the game at 60-60, Tompkins Cortland scored 11 of the next 13 points to lead 71-62 with just under eight minutes left. The lead dipped down to single digits just once over the closing minutes as the Panthers enjoyed a comfortable distance ahead the rest of the way.
By the final horn, six Panthers had scored in double figures. Jaiden Allen (Marlboro/Marlboro H.S.) was in the lead with 21 points, followed by 16 points from Omari Lane (Newburgh/Newburgh Free Academy). Shareef Ali (Queens/Martin Van Buren H.S.) and Garrick Averett (Hempstead/Hempstead H.S.) each had 15 points while Ja Don Crooms (Brooklyn/Boys and Girls H.S.) had 11 points. Derek Brower (Queens/Half Hollow Hills West H.S.) added 10 points in the win.
The Panthers are next in action Saturday for the team's fourth straight home game to open the semester. The opponent on Saturday is Finger Lakes Community College, and the tip is scheduled for 3 p.m.