ONEONTA, NY – Needing a victory in its final regular season game for an Empire 8 playoff berth, the Hartwick men's basketball team (16-9) fell two points short, dropping a 90-88 overtime decision to regular season champion St. John Fisher Saturday at Lambros Arena.
The Hawks led for much of the game and held a five-point lead with three minutes to play and a three-point advantage with under 30 seconds left in regulation. The Cardinals forced overtime with a three with 15 seconds left in regulation. In the extra session, the visitors grabbed the advantage with just over two minutes to play and the Hawks came away empty on their final four possessions.
The Hawks finish the regular season in a tie for fourth place with Nazareth at 9-7. The Golden Flyers grab the fourth and final seed in the playoffs on tie-breakers.
In overtime, Fisher's (20-5, 15-1 Empire 8) Sammy Robinson sank both at the charity stripe to tie things up with 2:57 remaining. On the other end, Joey Lufkin (Argyle, NY/Argyle Central) could not connect and Michael D'Amico hit the go-ahead bucket on the Cardinals' next possession.
Down two, Hartwick had the ball with under 10 seconds to go but was whistled for an offensive foul to give the Cardinals the ball back under the Hawks' basket. Justin Carruthers (Greenwich, NY/Greenwich HS) came up with a steal and fed Lufkin at the top of the key for the potential game-winning three. Unfortunately, through two defenders his try was too strong and Fisher came away with the rebound and the victory.
Lufkin, one of three honored this evening, matched a game-high 25 points coupled with five assists and a steal on 53.3 percent shooting. He concludes his impressive tenure at Hartwick ranked sixth all-time in scoring with 1,636 points in his career.
Four other Hawks reached double-figure scoring including Brandon LaForest's (Cohoes, NY/Cohoes HS) 18 and Carruthers' season-high 12. LaForest's tally was accompanied by a game-high seven dimes and six boards. His three thefts earned on the evening brings his season total to 52 slotting him fifth in program history. Carruthers also added four boards and three steals.
Reserves Corey Baker (Granby, MA/Granby HS) and Marc du Moulin (Altamont, NY/Guilderland) each contributed 11 to the point column making up for 22 of the Hawks' 24 bench points. The duo also supplied two assists and five boards, respectively.
The first half's early back and forth affair credited five ties and a whopping 15 lead changes with the last knotted score, 40-up, occurring with 2:16 remaining in the half.
At that point, Lufkin netted his second triple putting the Hawks out in front and they settled on a 46-42 lead at the break.
The Hawks widened their lead to as much as 11 points at the 7:14 mark of the second half. Tyler English brought his team's deficit back to single digits nailing a trey less than ten seconds later which spiraled into 10 unanswered points.
The Hawks held a one-point lead, 82-81, with under two minutes remaining before Carruthers calmly drained a pair from the line to up the margin to three with 28 seconds to go. D'Amico would connect from downtown to tie the score with 15 seconds left but the Hawks had the ball for one final possession. Justin Pratt (North Kingstown, RI/North Kingstown HS) had a look from three-point range just before the final horn but it was off the mark.
English paced the Cardinals with 25 points, six boards, and five assists on 53.3 percent shooting. Fisher played a vast majority of overtime without Keegan Ryan, who registered a double-double of 21 points and 10 boards, four of which came on the offensive glass. Robinson posted 18 points and seven rebounds.
Pratt ended the game with nine points all from distance and with 249 triples to his career, goes down as the second leading three-point shooter in program history.