October 28, 2021

Red Dragon squads split close calls

Division III Basketball

Joe McIntrye/staff photographer

SUNY Cortland’s Alaina Lynch (3) runs the floor against Elmira in the first quarter of Thursday’s game. The Soaring Eagles won, 82-77.

James Morales hit a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 25.4 seconds remaining and St. John Fisher had a potential jumper rim out at the buzzer Thursday night as the SUNY Cortland men’s basketball team defeated the visiting Cardinals 70-69 in a non-league matchup.

The host Red Dragon women, meanwhile, fell 82-77 to undefeated Elmira College.


Cortland 70, St. John Fisher 69: Neither team led by more than six points over the game’s final 34 minutes as the Red Dragons improved to 3-1 and the cardinals fell to 2-3. Neither team led by more than six points over the game’s final 34 minutes. Cortland trailed 59-53 with 8:51 remaining, but tied the game on back-to-back 3-pointers from Nicky Bonura over the next two minutes. Morales tipped in his own miss with 5:06 left, and Justin Cooper’s 3-pointer with 4:21 left gave Cortland its largest lead of the night at 64-59.

Ryan Henderson answered with a 3-pointer for Fisher, but Bonura’s trey pushed the lead back to five with 3:32 left. Henderson, however, scored the next five points on a 3-pointer and a jumper, and the game was tied at 67-67 with 1:32 on the clock.

Each team was stopped on its next possession. Cortland took the lead for good when Morales buried an open 3-pointer from the left corner, off a feed from Cooper. Fisher missed a potential tying 3-pointer, but grabbed the offensive rebound, and Henderson’s dunk with eight seconds left drew the Cardinals within one.

Cooper was fouled with 6.4 seconds left, but his free throw on the front end of a 1-and-1 went in-and-out. Tyler English grabbed the rebound, dribbled down the right sideline and pulled up for a contested jumper just inside the 3-point arc. His shot rolled around the rim and off as the horn sounded.

Bonura led Cortland with 21 points in 26 minutes off the bench. He made 5-of- 11 attempts from the 3-point line. Morales and Cooper each scored 12 points and Zach Lydon finished with 11 points. Morales led the team with six assists. Cooper finished 5-of-7 from the floor and had seven rebounds and three assists. Lydon added four rebounds, three assists and three blocks, and Carrel Joseph shared the team lead with seven boards.

Henderson led Fisher with 24 points on 10-of-13 shooting, 4-of-5 from 3-point range. English ended with 13 points, seven rebounds and four assists, and Sammy Robinson totaled eight points, seven rebounds and three assists.


Elmira 82, Cortland 77: Sally Hogan scored 24 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in 24 minutes off the bench and Danielle Cleary added 20 points as Elmira remained unbeaten with an 82-77 win at Cortland in a non-league women’s basketball contest.

The Soaring Eagles improved to 5-0 with the win. Cortland dropped to 0-4, with three of its losses by six points or less.

Taylor Miller led five Cortland double- figure scorers with a career-high 20 points. She also finished with five steals and five rebounds. Miller made 6-of-8 shots from the floo , including 2-of-3 from 3-point range, and hit all six of her free throws.

Kristy Vitucci finished with 12 points, six rebounds and four assists. Kerry McHugh and Shana Crespo scored 11 points apiece, with Crespo also totaling a team-high and career-high nine rebounds, and McHugh dishing out four assists. Tanna Mohammed added 10 points.

Hogan made 11-of-16 field goals in her 24-point effort for Elmira. Cleary connected on 5-of-12 3-pointers on the way to her 20 points, and she also contributed five assists and five rebounds. Emily Green hit 5-of-10 shots from the 3-point arc and ended with 17 points, while Rachel Vespucci finished with nine points and 12 boards.

Cortland trailed 22-20 after one quarter and 39-33 at intermission.

Elmira pushed the lead to nine early in the third, but Cortland fought back and eventually tied the game at 51-51 on a McHugh 3-pointer with 2:26 left in the period.

Elmira re-established a 57-52 lead after three quarters, but the Red Dragons struck quickly in the fourth on a Shelby Dugan jumper and a Vitucci 3-pointer to knot the game at 57-57 less than a minute into the quarter.

Cortland, however, was never able to take the lead. Elmira went up by nine with 4:42 left on a Vespucci free throw. Cortland answered with an 8-1 run, capped by Vitucci’s jumper with 2:42 remaining, and trailed 74- 72.

Hogan hit a pair of layups at the 1:27 and 48-second marks to give the guests a six-point advantage. Miller drained a 3-pointer with 40 seconds left to cut it to three, but Lauren Franklin hit two free throws three seconds later, and the Red Dragons were unable to get any closer than four from that point.