UR's Hot Second Half Earns A Spot in the Wendy's Classic Semis

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GENEVA, N.Y. - Rochester put on a vibrant shooting performance in the second half and defeated The College at Brockport, 65-59, in the quarterfinals of the Wendy's College Classic at Hobart College on Wednesday night.

With the victory, the Yellowjackets move into the semifinals for the 14th straight year. Rochester will play RIT, the tournament's eighth-seed, at 8 pmm Friday. RIT upended top-seeded St. John Fisher in a quarterfinal game at Nazareth College.

Sam Borst-Smith led Rochester with 22 points, 18 coming in the second half. Jared Seltzer scored 14, and battled inside for eight gritty rebounds. Jacob Wittig scored a season's high 12 points, made three steals, and scrapped for three defensive boards. Rochester improved to 5-2 overall. The Yellowjackets are the tournament's fifth seed.

Brockport, which lost for the first time this season (2-1), was led by Hamed Shamseldin. He scored 20 points. Clifton Lyerly had 13 points and eight rebounds. Two other Brockport players - Olusola Adeniran and Pat Modzelewski scored seven points apiece. The Golden Eagles are the tournament's fourth seed.

To say Rochester got off to a slow start converting field goal attempts is too modest. The Yellowjackets missed 14 of their first 15 shots from the floor. Mack Montague's layup three and a half minutes in was all that kept Rochester from an 0-15 to start the game.

Brockport giddily took advantage and raced to a 14-4 lead after 6:39 was gone on the clock. Shamseldin scored seven of his 22 in that stretch.

Fortunes changed quickly in the last nine minutes of the half. Seltzer hit a six-footer off the left baseline. Brendan O'Shea connected on a trey from the right corner. Michael Mangan hit one from right wing, and two minutes later, Tucker Knox sank one from almost the identical spot. When Borst-Smith spun down the lane for a layup, it capped a 13-0 run over four and a half minutes and put the Yellowjackets narrowly in front, 17-14. The lead went back and fourth in the final four minutes. Brockport scored the last four points of the half for a 24-21 edge at halftime.

Early in the second half, Modzelewski hit a banker from the right of the lane for a 28-23 Brockport lead. That sparked a game-turning 17-4 run by Rochester. Borst-Smith had seven of the 17, Seltzer scored five, Zack Ayers made a reverse, and Wittig sank a three from the left corner. Rochester led, 40-32.

Wittig's left corner trey ignited an eight polint burst for himself. He sank a trey from left wing, then added two free throws. Borst-Smith hit two more jumpers and the Yellowjackets moved to their biggest lead at 49-37 with just over 10 minutes left.

Brockport fought back. The Eagles got it down to 55-52 at 4:56. Rochester stretched it back to six, 58-52, Lylerly made both ends of a one-and-one (the Golden Eagles were perfect at the line, 11-11). Then with 96 seconds left, Adeniran put in a follow and added a free throw to drop the deficit to one point, 58-57.

Seltzer hit one of the biggest baskets of the season with 35.1 seconds left. He swished a 15-footer from right wing off Borst-Smith's pass. That made the lead three, and the Yellowjackets were able to sink five of their last six free throw attempts to clinch a Palestra home game Friday night.