October 25, 2021

Cortland men beat Ithaca, women fall

Division III Basketball

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer

Ithaca Bomber Cassidy O'Malley (34), left, blocks the shot of SUNY Cortland's Justine Crespo (20), left, in the third quarter.

It was a night for the visitors Tuesday as the SUNY Cortland-Ithaca College basketball rivalry was renewed.

The Red Dragon men traveled down Route 13 and came home with an 85- 75 win to improve to 2-1 while the Cortland women fell to 1-2 after an 85-71 loss to the visiting Bombers.


Cortland 85, Ithaca 75: Nicky Bonura scored 22 points, including six 3-pointers, and Justin Cooper totaled 19 points, 13 rebounds and three assists as Cortland triumphed.

Zach Lydon added 13 points and Kenny Charles scored a career-best 12 points for the Red Dragons, who were playing their first game since losing at Division I Wagner two weeks ago. Charles and Mike Arias each grabbed five rebounds.

Sebastian Alderete and Riley Thompson combined for 49 points for Ithaca (1-2). Alderete finished with 26 points and five rebounds. He made 5-of-8 3-pointers. Thompson tallied 23 points and had three assists. Matt Flood chipped in with 10 points and five rebounds and Jake Mitchell ended with five assists and three steals.

The game featured 19 lead changes, 14 in the second half. Cortland led 34-32 at halftime, and neither team led by more than four points for the first 12- plus minutes of the second half. Leading 63-61, the Red Dragons used a Ben Walters 3-pointer and two Cooper free throws to go up by seven with 7:08 remaining. The Cortland lead grew to nine a few times over the next four minutes, the last at 79-70 with 3:09 left on a Bonura 3-pointer.

Ithaca answered with a 5-0 run, capped by a Alderete trey with 2:14 left, to cut Cortland’s lead to four. The Bombers missed a 3-pointer on their next possession and Cooper sank two foul shots with 1:46 left to push the lead to four. After an Ithaca miss, Cortland ran down most of the shot clock before Bonura buried a 3-pointer at the 1:07 mark to give Cortland an 84-75 advantage. The only scoring the rest of the way was a Cooper free throw with 45 seconds remaining.

Bonura finished 8-of-15 from the floor overall and 6-of-13 from the arc. Cooper made 7-of-10 field goals and 5-of-6 from the line and Charles was 4-of-6 from the floor and 3-of-4 from the charity stripe. As a team, Cortland shot 54 percent overall and 38 percent (11-of-29) from long distance as well as 78 percent (14-of-18) from the foul line. Ithaca shot 44 percent overall and 41 percent (12-of- 29) from 3-point distance.


Ithaca 85, Cortland 71: Ithaca’s Cassidy O’Malley registered 18 points, six rebounds, five blocks and three assists as the visiting Bombers won the nonleague contest.

Kristy Vitucci led Cortland with 19 points, including 5-of- 10 shooting from 3-point range, and added seven rebounds and three assists. Alaina Lynch and Shelby Dugan each recorded career highs in scoring. Lynch made 5-of-9 shots from the arc and finished with 17 points along with a career-high tying four assists. Dugan was 5-of-9 overall from the floor with two 3-pointers and ended with 15 points and three assists.

Also for the Red Dragons, Justine Crespo pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds and Shana Crespo had six rebounds and six points.

O’Malley was one of four double- figure scorers for Ithaca (2-1). Kellyanne O’Reilly rang up 14 points along with five rebounds, Allie Tunick had 13 points, including 3-of-4 accuracy from the 3-point line, and Annie Giannone scored 11 points and dished out a game-high seven assists.

Ithaca shot 45 percent overall from the field and 50 percent (9-of-18) from 3-point range. Cortland was also more accurate from long distance than from close range as the Red Dragons shot 47 percent from 3-point territory (14-of-30) but only 41 percent overall from the floor.

Ithaca led 21-13 after one quarter. Cortland got within 31- 27 on a Lynch trey with 3:46 left in the second, but Ithaca scored the final six points of the period, the last four by Abbi Field, and led 37-27 at halftime.

The Bombers made five 3-pointers in the third quarter, including four consecutive makes from Tunick, O’Reilly, Sara Jackson and Giannone in a two-minute span that gave Ithaca a 62-38 lead with 1:43 left.

Cortland cut its deficit to 18 by the end of the third at 64-46 on a buzzer-beating, off-balance 3-pointer by Dugan, and the Red Dragons eventually got as close as 10 points at 79-69 with 1:44 left. Ithaca held off the charge with two free throws each from Grace Cannon and Giannone over the next 25 seconds and the margin was at least 12 after that.