SYRACUSE, NY. – November 9, 2008 – The Onondaga Community College men’s basketball team came within a fraction of a second of repeating as champions in the 8th annual Anthony Torchia Memorial Classic at Mohawk Valley Community College this weekend. The Lazers opened the tournament with a 99-78 victory over NJCAA Division II Mercyhurst North East Junior College on Friday night, but dropped a 90-89 decision to the hosts in controversial fashion in Saturday afternoon’s championship game. The Lazers now stand at 2-1 on the new season.
All-Tournament selection Jason Kondra (East Syracuse-Minoa) poured in a career high 30 points and handed out a team best 7 assists in the opening round win over Mercyhurst. In that contest, the Lazers led by 9 at the half, only to see the Saints close the gap early in the second half. Mercyhurst was within 3 points at 67-64 with just over 9:00 remaining, but the Lazers outscored the Saints, 32-14, the rest of the way to pull away for the win. Matt Potter (New Berlin Unadilla Valley), also and All-Tournament selection, and Brad Romancik (LaFayette) added 18 and 15 points respectively. Romancik and Brandon Haughton (Cicero-North Syracuse) tied for the team lead in rebounds with 9 each. Onondaga gave a strong defensive effort, holding Mercyhurst to 25 of 80 (35%) shooting from the floor and forcing 22 Saint turnovers. The Lazers made 32 of 74 shots (43%) and converted on 30 of 49 free throws, compared to 13 of 30 for the Saints. Mercyhurst owned a 60 54 rebounding advantage.
In the championship game, Mohawk Valley held an 11 point advantage with just over 4:00 remaining, before Onondaga staged a furious rally, culminating with Kondra’s go-ahead jump shot with 9 seconds remaining. After a near steal and a timeout, Mohawk Valley’s Ronald Tarver hit an 18 foot jump shot that left his hands just as the horn sounded to give the hosts the win. The final 9 seconds were surrounded with controversy, as game video confirmed that the clock failed to start immediately when the ball was touched inbounds twice during the closing sequence, and the game officials also incorrectly added an additional second to the clock after the Mohawk Valley timeout. Potter led Onondaga with a career high 21 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 blocked shots. Kondra added 19 points and 7 assists, while Josh Michlovitch (Liverpool) reached double figures for the first time with 13 and added 5 steals. Onondaga made 33 of 78 shots (42%), while Mohawk Valley connected on 35 of 65 attempts (54%). The Lazers made 13 of 19 attempts from the foul line while the Hawks connected on 16 of 30 attempts. Mohawk Valley owned a 48-36 rebounding advantage but turned the ball over 31 times compared to 22 turnovers for Onondaga.
Onondaga returns to action on Thursday evening with a 7:00 pm tip-off at SUNY Delhi. The Lazers return home next Sunday, November 16, for a 3:00 pm contest against Division II Jamestown Community College-Cattaraugus County.
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