Ithaca Dismantles No. 13 Rochester, 85-70, Behind 14 3-Pointers

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ITHACA, N.Y. – The Ithaca College men's basketball team posted a convincing, wire-to-wire upset victory over No. 13 the University of Rochester, 85-70, in a non-league matchup inside Ben Light Gymnasium on Tuesday evening, December 11. Ithaca, which is now 4-3 on the season, dealt Rochester (9-1) its first loss of the year. It is the second time in as many years that the Bombers have defeated a nationally ranked Yellowjacket club (No. 15 last season), as IC topped UR, 71-68, last winter.

Rochester entered tonight's contest with the 12th-best scoring defense in Division III at 62.0 points per game, but Ithaca surpassed that mark by 23. The Yellowjackets also held their opposition to just 37.2% shooting from the floor and 27.4% from 3-point range, however, the Bombers shot 55.6% (35-for-63) overall and 46.7% (14-for-30) from distance.

The Bombers were led by 17 points apiece from senior Riley Thompson (7-for-11) and senior Peter Ezema (8-for-17), while junior Sebastian Alderete (6-for-9, 3-for-5 3-pointers) contributed 15 points and sophomore Bryan Karl (5-for-9, 4-for-7 3-pointers) dropped 14 points off the bench.

Ezema also pulled down nine rebounds, to go along with three assists and three steals, while Thompson added four assists.

Freshman Skylar Sinon chipped in nine points on 4-of-5 from the field with four boards and two blocks, while senior Matt Flood added eight points. Sophomore Cooper Macklin and freshman Zach Warech each dished out three assists for IC.

The Bombers jumped out to a 9-2 lead, including a 7-0 start, within the opening 2:25 of the contest, as Alderete scored five points during that spurt. Over the next four minutes of action, IC increased its advantage to 21-6 on five more points from Alderete and five from Thompson.

With 10:15 to play in the half, Rochester closed to within 10 points at 24-14, but the Bombers pushed its cushion back out to 15 points, 33-18 by the 6:03 mark. Ithaca drilled three consecutive 3-pointers during that stretch as Macklin, Ezema and Karl each connected from range.

The Yellowjackets mounted a late run to end the half, as they closed to within six points at 42-36 with under a minute to play. Ithaca tallied the final basket of the opening 20 minutes on a layup from Ezema to send IC into intermission with a 44-36 edge.

Out of the break, Rochester scored the initial basket, but the Bombers tallied five straight points on a three-ball from Flood and a bucket from Ezema to go back up by 11 points at 49-38 with 18:55 on the clock.

UR responded with a quick 7-0 run by the 17:07 to trim its deficit down to four points, 49-45, which was the closest the Yelllowjackets would get for the remainder of the contest. Ithaca answered the challenge with five points from Alderete, a basket from Ezema and a 3-pointer by Sinon as the shot clocked expired to push the disparity back out to 12 points, 59-47, with 14:56 to go.

Rochester immediately answered with a three-ball of its own on the next possession, but Flood countered with a 3-pointer of his own to re-establish the 12-point lead at 62-50. From there, the Bombers put the game away with a 17-5 run to go up by as many as 24 points at 79-55 with 8:18 to play.

Ithaca iced the game away from that there and cruised to the 85-70 win.

The Bombers made at least 10 3-pointers from the fifth time in seven games this season and registered their best overall shooting performance of the year from the floor and 3-point range thus far.

Ithaca travels to Florida during winter break as the Bombers will take on No. 4 Hamilton College on Dec. 29 and Ursinus College on the 30th at the Land of Magic Tournament in Daytona.