Visiting Oswego State won a defensive battle by a score of 55-54 over the University of Rochester men's basketball team to capture the 2015 UR/Holiday Inn Airport Thanksgiving Invitational title on Sunday afternoon at the Louis Alexander Palestra.
The Lakers improve to 6-0 on the season, the longest winning streak to start a season since the 2005-06 Oswego squad which started 7-0. The loss snaps Rochester 4-game winning streak and drops the Yellowjackets to 4-2 on the season.
Oswego was led by Walter Sampson, the lone Laker in double-figures with 16 points. He added four assists and was named tournament MVP. Joining him on the All-Tournament team was Brian Sortino who backed up a 16-point semifinal game with a nine-point, five steal performance on Sunday.
Rochester's leading scorers were Jared Seltzer and Sam Borst-Smith who each contributed 21 points. Seltzer added five rebounds and three 3-pointers while Borst-Smith chipped in two trey's and was 5-5 from the free throw line. Both were named All-Tournament selections.
The Lakers started out hot from long range, nailing seven of their first eight attempts from behind the arc, en route to building a double-digit lead 12 minutes into the game.
After a free throw built the Oswego lead to a game-high 12 points with 5:10 to go in the first half, the Yellowjackets were able to trim the lead down to five with a 12-5 burst to close the period. Borst-Smith scored eight points in the stretch to power UR. At the break, Oswego was up 35-30.
The start of second half saw both teams struggle from the floor mightily, with Oswego missing its first eight shots and Rochester making just one of five attempts over a five minute span.
UR was able to pull even at 37-37 with 13:30 remaining, but the Lakers would respond with an 8-0 run to rebuild a 45-37 lead. Sortino had a 4-point play and added a jumper while Sampson connected on a layup to provide Oswego with the spark.
With less than 10 minutes on the clock, Rochester looked inside to Seltzer and Dylan Peretz in an effort to claw its way back. Peretz made a layup and Seltzer added four straight points for the Yellowjackets as UR climbed within one, down 47-46 with 6:22 left.
Seltzer would score 11 of his teams' final 17 points, including a layup with 1:39 to play which tied the score at 54. Overall, the game featured eight ties and five lead changes with the final one coming after a Sortino free throw with 1:21 left in the game.
Over the final 80 seconds, Oswego would cling to the one point lead, getting a big offensive rebound from Keith Tyson off a Sortino miss, allowing the Lakers to kill nearly a minute off the clock. As time expired, Rochester's Borst-Smith launched up a 3-pointer which missed, giving the visiting Lakers the victory.
In the game, Rochester shot 47% from the floor, making 20 of 43 shots while Oswego State hit just 18-53 for a 34% rate. UR also held the advantage on the glass with a 34-27 rebounding edge. The Lakers hit eight 3-pointers compared to just five for UR.
Up next for the Yellowjackets is the 50th and final Wendy's College Classic. Pairings for first round games are going to be announced later on Sunday with the men's tournament running Wednesday, Friday and Saturday this week. UR will play host to the semifinals and finals of the tournament.
GAME NOTES: Oswego State is coached by Jason Leone, 1999 graduate of the University of Rochester…Leone was HIA Tournament MVP as a senior in the 1998-99 year…Today's matchup was the first in over 100 years between Rochester and Oswego, with the only other meeting coming in the 1909-10 season when UR defeated then called Oswego Normal School 25-18 in Oswego.