Morrisville State improves to 6-5 overall with the win, a 3-2 conference record, while the visitors drop just their third of the year, falling to 7-3 overall and 2-2 in NEAC play.
Five posted double figures for the victors, including senior guard Brandon Hanks (Syracuse, N.Y.) who led all scorers with 20 on the afternoon. Hanks added nine assists and five rebounds to his tallies, while teammates Tom Wilk (Cortland, N.Y.) and Jordan Prior (Cortland, N.Y.) each posted 16. Wilk had the double-double, collecting 10 rebounds while hitting all seven shots from the field, as Prior added nine of his points from behind the arc, and assisting four others.
Kucjok Ater (Syracuse, N.Y.) and Jailaan Kinsey (Syracuse, N.Y.) rounded out the Mustang leaderboard with 11 points each, combining for six assists on the day.
Kaleel Johnson (Syracuse, N.Y.) paced the Wildcats with 19 points and five rebounds, as four others also notched double digits, including Sallo Fofana (Bronx, N.Y.) who added 18 points, six boards and three blocked shots.
Ryan James (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.) and Alonzo Grainger (Syracuse, N.Y.) each registered 12. Maverick Hodge (Bronx, N.Y.) dished out an 11 point, 10 assist performance, leading SUNYIT with three steals.
Morrisville State came out of the gates fast and furious, building up a 10 point lead in a matter of minutes, before the Wildcats clawed their way back into the game and played to a tightly matched contest, until 2:41 to go in the opening half, when SUNYIT took their first lead since their first score of the day, on a layup by Fofana.
Fofana added another bucket seconds later for the three-point Wildcat lead, but a lay-up by Prior brought the Mustangs to within one at the break.
Both teams were shooting the lights out in the opening stanza, SUNYIT 57.9 percent from the floor on 22-of-38 attempts while the Mustangs hit 21-of-32 shots (65.6%).
The Wildcats picked up the offensive pace early in the second and took advantage of a cold Mustang unit, racing out to a 14-point lead midway through the final period, before Hanks collected an offensive rebound and followed with a layup to spark a 12-0 Morrisville State run over the next four minutes to get back in the game. Hanks posted seven of the Mustangs 12 points, while Wilk added a basket and Anthony Javier (Bronx, N.Y.) followed with a huge shot from downtown to make it a two point game with just over seven minutes to go.
SUNYIT maintained the single digit lead over the hosts until an offensive rebound and layup by Prior off an initially blocked shot with 1:06 remaining, gave Morrisville State their first lead since the 2:55 mark in the opening half, 87-86.
Hanks extended the lead to 88-86 for the Mustangs hitting the backend of two free throw attempts with nine ticks to go.
SUNYIT put together a last second effort, but a shot by Jones fell short and the rebound landed in the arms of Morrisville State’s Sherard King (Bronx, N.Y.) who secured the ball for the conference win.
Morrisville State finished the contest hitting 58.3 percent from the floor on 35-of-60 shots, including 7-of-18 from long range.
SUNYIT shot 56.1 percent on the day on 37-of-66 attempts, nailing 7-of-12 from beyond the arc. Thirty-four of their points came on Mustang miscues, as Morrisville State turned the ball over 18 times.
The Mustangs return to the court Saturday, traveling to Penn State Abington, before facing Gallaudet on Sunday.
SUNYIT is on the road at Wells College on Monday, facing the Express again on Wednesday.
Story courtesy of Morrisville State Athletic Department.
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