Cortland Men Fall Short vs. New Paltz, 67-61, on Senior Night

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CORTLAND, N.Y. – New Paltz opened up a 15-point lead in the first half and held off a Cortland push in the second half as the Hawks defeated the host Red Dragons, 67-61, in SUNYAC men's basketball action.
Prior to the game, Cortland honored seniors William Lee Moore (Rochester/Greece Olympia), Zach Lydon (Elizaville/Stissing Mountain), Nicky Bonura (Mount Kisco/Fox Lane) and Justin Cooper (Pine Plains/Stissing Mountain), who were playing in their final regular-season home game.
With the outcome, Cortland and New Paltz remain in part of a five-team logjam for positions three through seven in the SUNYAC standings. Cortland (16-7, 10-6 SUNYAC) is tied for third with Brockport, with New Paltz (14-9, 9-7 SUNYAC) in fifth place. Potsdam (8-8) is sixth and Oneonta (7-8) is seventh. The top six teams qualify for the playoffs, with the third and fourth-place teams hosting first-round games next Tuesday. Oswego and Plattsburgh are guaranteed the league's top two spots and byes into the semifinals. Cortland wraps the regular season with road games at Geneseo Friday and Brockport Saturday.
Cooper led Cortland versus the Hawks with 24 points and 13 rebounds for his 10th double-double of the season. He made 10-of-14 shots from the field and was 4-for-4 at the foul line. Bonura scored 12 points and handed out three assists and Brendan Fitzpatrick (Plainview/Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK) scored seven points and tied his career highs with six rebounds and three steals.
Tristan Wissemann led New Paltz with 19 points and Isaiah Bien-Aise scored 18 points and had three steals. They each made three 3-pointers. Scott Reisert led the Hawks on the boards with nine rebounds, followed by Paddy Parr with eight, Bien-Aise with seven and Wissemann with six. Cory Garcia scored nine points and led the team with seven assists.
The guests used a 15-1 run, highlighted by two Felix Riascos 3-pointers, to take a 32-17 lead with 4:55 left in the first half. The margin remained in double figures the rest of the period and was 12 at halftime at 39-27.
Trailing 44-32 three minutes into the second half, Cortland held the Hawks to just two points over a nine-minute span, but was only able to score eight points itself during that stretch to trail 46-40 with just over eight minutes remaining.
Cortland got as close as five points twice over the next four minutes, but each time New Paltz hit a 3-pointer to push the margin to eight. The Red Dragons were down 58-52 after two Cooper free throws with 4:15 left and, following a turnover, had a chance to make it a one possession game but a 3-point attempt rimmed out. Bien-Aise then hit a 3-pointer with 3:32 left to give New Paltz a 61-52 advantage.
The closest Cortland got after that was four points with nine seconds remaining. Bien-Aise hit two free throws to make the margin six and he recorded a steal to secure the win.
New Paltz shot 40 percent overall and 35 percent from the arc (9-of-26). Cortland ended at 36 percent overall and 20 percent (4-of-20) from long distance.