Bears drop heartbreaker to Blue Devils, 87-86
FREDONIA, N.Y. – The SUNY Potsdam men's basketball team (7-10, 3-7 SUNYAC) dropped a come from behind heartbreaker to Fredonia State (6-10, 2-8 SUNYAC), 87-86 Friday night. Senior captain Curtis Pierce recorded a double-double with 21 points and 15 rebounds. Pierce increased his point total to 1,316, moving him into ninth place on the all-time scoring list. Senior guard Josh Lambert followed with an 18-point showing.
Lambert drilled a jump shot one minute into the game to put the Bears on the board first. Both teams jostled back-and-forth but a big three pointer by Pierce at the 14:24 mark put Potsdam in a position for a run. However, Fredonia answered with a 10-0 spurt, which was capped off with a dunk by junior forward Tyrone Clark with 9:46 remaining. Junior forward Colin Peterson ended the Bears drought with a three two minutes later. The Blue Devils made another run to extend the deficit to 11 points with less than five minutes left in the half. Potsdam chipped away at the lead and a last second three pointer from freshman guard Joe Estramonte cut the Fredonia advantage to 37-30 at the break.
Potsdam came out on fire in the second half. The Bears rode the momentum of the Estramonte three at the end of the first stanza. A quick basket by Lambert sparked an 8-0 run and gave Potsdam a 38-37 lead. Fredonia was able to halt the charge with a basket from beyond the arc, which led to a 7-2 Blue Devil spurt. The game was tightly contested for five minutes as both teams exchanged baskets. Fredonia began to pull away with a big three pointer by senior forward Amir Billups to ignite a 12-0 run with 8:46 remaining. The Bears continued to battle despite the deficit. Pierce drained a bucket from the three-point line to lead the Potsdam charge at the 6:06 mark. The Bears would go on a 12-2 run to cut the lead to one with 3:31 remaining in the contest. The Blue Devils would hold a 76-72 advantage with under a minute to play in regulation. A layup by Pierce and senior guard Mark Lake, Jr. would diminish the lead to just two points with 24 ticks left. Clark would make both of his free throws to put Fredonia up by two possessions. Pierce hauled in a rebound and made the putback with seven seconds remaining to bring the Bears within two points. Potsdam was forced to foul. A costly miss by freshman guard Eric Zwierlein left the Bears with a chance to tie the game. Estramonte would step up as a last second three ball by the freshman notched the game at 79 all.
The battle ensued in extra time. Both teams continued to exchange baskets and the Bears held the 86-85 advantage off a Pierce free throw with 10 second left. The Blue Devils returned the favor and a layup by freshman guard Robert Lyles as time expired gave Fredonia the 87-86 victory.
Potsdam shot 50% from the floor but only 63% from the charity stripe. Fredonia edged the Bears in rebounds, 35-32, and connected on 11 three pointers throughout the contest. Lake finished with 15 points. Peterson and Estramonte each notched 11 points, respectively.
Billups lead the Blue Devils with 22 points and six rebounds. Clark finished with 19 points and eight assists. Senior guard Dalton Kashmer totaled 15 points and Zwierlein added 13.
The Bears are back in action tomorrow when they travel to Buffalo State for a 4 p.m. tipoff.