Plattsburgh Nips Cortland, 80-78, in Back-and-Forth Affair

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CORTLAND, N.Y. - Eli Bryant hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with less than 50 seconds remaining and Plattsburgh defeated host Cortland, 80-78, in a battle of two of the top teams in the SUNYAC men's basketball standings.

Plattsburgh (8-4, 6-1 SUNYAC) and Cortland (11-3, 6-1 SUNYAC) are tied with Brockport for first place in the league standings. Cortland will host Potsdam Saturday at 3 p.m., while Plattsburgh will play at Oswego at 3 p.m.

Jonathan Patron led five Plattsburgh double-figure scorers with 20 points and also added 10 rebounds. Bryant finished with 19 points and eight boards, and Nick DeAngelis added 14 points, including four 3-pointers. Chris Middleton tallied 11 points and dished out four assists, and Eric Mack totaled 10 points and five rebounds. Ian Howard led the Cardinals with 11 rebounds.

Justin Cooper (Pine Plains/Stissing Mountain) was Cortland's top scorer with 26 points on 9-of-13 shooting from the field, and he also led the squad with seven rebounds. James Morales (Mount Kisco/Fox Lane) finished with 25 points and Zach Lydon (Elizaville/Stissing Mountain) chipped with with 11 points on 5-of-9 shooting.

Cortland trailed by 10 points midway through the first half but rallied to tie the game at halftime, 37-37. The back-and-forth second half featured seven ties and 18 lead changes, including six lead shifts in the final three minutes.

Cortland took a 74-73 lead on two Morales free throws with 2:34 left, but Plattsburgh answered with a Patron jumper at the 2:10 mark to regain the lead. Cooper got fouled after an offensive rebound with 1:45 left, and his two free throws put the Red Dragons ahead 76-75.

Plattsburgh responded with an alley-oop dunk by Mack off a feed from Bryant with 1:33 remaining, but Morales hit a jumper with 1:14 left and Cortland led 78-77.

Bryant's 3-pointer with 49.7 seconds left ended up being the final points scored by either team. Howard blocked a Cortland layup attempt with 37 seconds left to preserve Plattsburgh's two-point lead, and Cortland elected to play defense instead of foul on the Cardinals' next possession.

Plattsburgh missed a 3-pointer with five seconds left. Cortland grabbed the rebound and got the ball to Cooper, who launched a shot from beyond halfcourt that hit off the right side of the rim as the buzzer sounded.

Plattsburgh shot 42 percent from the field and 31 percent (9-of-29) from 3-point range, while Cortland finished at 46 percent overall and just 23 percent (5-of-22) from the arc. Plattsburgh grabbed 19 offensive rebounds and finished with a 19-7 edge in second-chance points.