Senior guard Mark Lake, Jr. scored a career-high 34 points and senior captain Curtis Pierce added another 27 to lift the SUNY Potsdam men's basketball team (7-8, 3-5 SUNYAC) to a 105-95 victory over SUNY New Paltz (6-9, 4-4) in double-overtime. Pierce raised his career point total to 1,285 to move into 10th place on Potsdam's all-time scoring list.
Hot shooting from beyond the three-point arc was the story for both teams in the first half. New Paltz shot 60 percent on three-point attempts and Potsdam knocked down four baskets from long range. The offenses hammered away at each other over the first 12 minutes with neither team leading by more than four. A layup from freshman forward Kevin Roach with five minutes left cut Potsdam's lead to 33-32. The Bears used a 13-6 spurt to close the half with a 46-38 lead. Pierce scored 11 of the 13 points during the run.
A three-pointer from junior forward Colin Peterson just over two minutes into the second half gave the Bears their largest lead of regulation at 49-40. However, the Hawks responded with a 9-0 run to tie the score, finished by a three from senior guard Shereef Taylor. The Hawks continued their strong shooting and built their lead to four points several times. The Bears battled back each time. A Taylor dunk with 1:50 left gave New Paltz a 78-72 lead. Peterson answered with a three-pointer 23 seconds later, followed by a steal and a layup from Lake to close to 78-77 with 43 seconds on the clock. Potsdam then forced the Hawks to the free throw line, but New Paltz was only able to hit three of five and layups from sophomore forward Zac Adams and Lake allowed the Bears to tie the game at 81with just three seconds left.
In the first overtime, the Hawks matched Potsdam basket-for-basket and were tied 85-85 after 45 minutes. The trend continued early in the second overtime, but a 10-3 run capped by a Peterson three-pointer, allowed the Bears to open up a 95-88 lead. The Bears then put the game away by hitting all 10 of their remaining free throws to go onto the 10-point victory.
The teams nearly matched each other on shots from the floor, with the Hawks shooting 49.3 percent and Potsdam hitting 48.6.
Peterson scored a career-high 20 points and Adams finished with a career-best 12. Senior forward Matt Devine recorded a double-double for New Paltz with 19 points and a game-high 15 boards. Taylor also scored 19 for the Hawks and Deveino McRae chipped in another 14.
“I thought it was a great basketball game,” said Bears Head Coach Sherry Dobbs. “That may have been the craziest game I have ever been involved in. Obviously Mark and Curtis played great, but we got great plays out of a lot of other guys. Zac Adams, Colin Peterson and Brandon Williams were really good. With Rob being out we need some guys to step up and contribute more and they did that. They were more aggressive offensively and rebounding and did a good job defensively.”
Dobbs was also very pleased with the poise his team showed in key situations.
“When we were out of timeouts, I thought they did a great job of being aware of what was going on and making plays without having to call time out,” Dobbs said. “They did some really good things on their own and were able to recognize what was going on and make some good basketball plays without the coaches having to tell them do those things.”
The win was the Bears' first over New Paltz since Dec. 4, 2011 and it marked the first time Potsdam topped 100 points in a game since the Bears downed SUNY Canton 104-62 on Dec. 1, 2009.
Potsdam looks to continue its momentum when it hosts North Country rival Plattsburgh in a SUNYAC battle Tuesday night at 8 p.m.