SYRACUSE, NY. – January 6, 2008 – The Onondaga Community College men’s basketball team traveled to Winter Haven, Florida last week and split a pair of games at the New Year’s Classic, hosted by Division I Polk Community College. The Lazers fell to host Polk last Wednesday, 72-59, before rebounding to beat IMG Academy of Bradenton, Florida in the consolation game, 88-72, on Thursday. The tournament marked the first time that the Lazers have competed against Division I opposition since the 2001-02 season.
In the opener against Polk, Onondaga jumped out to an early 9-2 lead before the host Vikings responded. Polk recovered to take a 29-25 lead to the locker room at halftime, and extended the advantage to as much as 18 points midway through the second half. The Lazers countered with a run of their own to close within 7 points with 6:50 remaining, but they could get no closer. Onondaga was led by Shane Williams (Camillus Wet Genesee), who scored 14 points, grabbed 14 rebounds, and handed out 4 assists. Chris Vincent (Baldwinsville C.W. Baker) added 11 points, and Luke Schrader (Herkimer) also handed out 4 assists. Both Onondaga and Polk suffered from poor shooting nights, with the Lazers connecting on only 21 of 65 attempts (32%) and the Vikings made only 28 of 78 attempts (36%). Polk owned a 56-46 rebounding advantage and forced 24 Onondaga turnovers while committing 18 themselves.
Against IMG, a post-graduate basketball training academy, the two teams battled on even terms for much of the first half, with the Lazers taking a 1 point lead into the half. IMG quickly moved out to a 7 point lead early in the second half, before the Lazers responded and took control of the contest by outscoring the Panthers, 47-24, over the game’s final 17 minutes. Vincent led the Lazers with 26 points, 24 in the second half. Ryan Chapman (Syracuse Bishop Ludden) and Schrader hit double figures with 14 and 13 points respectively. Kevin Barrett (Syracuse Bishop Ludden) grabbed 8 rebounds, and point guard Zack Thomsen (New Berlin Unadilla Valley) handed out 10 assists without committing a turnover. Pete Byrne (Syracuse Bishop Ludden) added 9 assists. Onondaga made 36 of 65 shots (55%), while IMG connected on 26 of 70 attempts (37%). Onondaga created 22 IMG turnovers while only giving it up 14 times themselves. The victory was the 140th for Onondaga head coach Dave Pasiak (Waterville), moving him past Hank Fengler (North Syracuse) as the all-time victory leader at Onondaga. Fengler won 139 games as the head coach from 1977 to 1983 and from 1987 to 1991.
Onondaga takes to the road again tomorrow (Monday) to face Columbia-Greene Community College in a non-conference tilt. The Lazers then open Mid-State Athletic Conference play on Thursday at Finger Lakes Community College with an 8:00 pm tip-off. Onondaga will meet Cayuga Community College in its Mid-State home opener on Saturday afternoon at 3:00 pm.
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