SYRACUSE, NY. – December 5, 2011 – The Onondaga Community College men’s basketball team hosted Clinton Community College and North Country Community College over the weekend, and came away with a pair of come from behind victories. The Lazers began the weekend with a 94-89 win over Clinton on Saturday afternoon, and followed by winning a 124-111 shootout over North Country on Sunday. With the wins, the Lazers ran their overall record to 7-2 on the season, while Clinton fell to 3-8 and North Country fell to 4-6.
The Lazers came out of the gate quickly against Clinton, jumping out to an 8-0 advantage. Clinton responded with a 13-3 run of their own, however, and when Zach Basso scored off of an Onondaga turnover, the Cougars had their first lead at 13-11. The two teams battled on nearly even terms throughout a sloppy first half, which saw Onondaga turn the ball over 19 times and Clinton turn it over 13 times. A Basso three-pointer with 10 seconds to go in the half gave Clinton a 43-40 advantage at the break.
Clinton’s lead grew to 6 early in the second half, but with the Cougars leading, 49-43, the Lazers went on a 10-0 run, with 5 points each from Jesse Gates (Liverpool) and Brandon Seibt (Central Square P.V. Moore), and gained a 53-49 advantage. Onondaga was able to slowly build the lead, and when Seibt hit his fourth three-pointer of the half, the Lazers had their biggest lead at 69-61, midway through the half. Clinton responded, however, and when Brandon Foreman converted two free throws, the Cougars were back within 1, at 75-74, with just over 5 minutes remaining. Kevin Corbin (Cicero-North Syracuse), scored 8 consecutive points for the Lazers, however, and Onondaga was able to maintain their slim lead. After Gates converted two free throws, the Lazers had built the lead back to 87-80, with under 3 minutes remaining. Onondaga was able to convert 6 of 8 free throws in the final minute to preserve the win. Seibt and Gates combined for 34 of Onondaga’s 54 second half points, with Seibt tallying 19 and Gates 15 in the second session.
Gates led Onondaga with 23 points and Seibt added 22, including 6 three-point goals. Jordan Prior (Cortland) added 15 points and 12 assists, while Corbin chipped in with 11 points. Ahmet Tunali (Syracuse Academy of Science) grabbed 14 rebounds and blocked 5 shots. Eric Turpin scored a game high 30 points and grabbed 18 rebounds to lead Clinton. Chris Miller and Basso added 16 and 13 points respectively for the Cougars.
Sunday’s game with North Country was a wide open affair from the start. The visiting Saints came out firing, with a pair of three-pointers by Barrius Williams sparking North Country to a 10-2 lead right out of the gate. The Saints continued their hot shooting, and extended their advantage to 37-21, with 7:54 to go in the first half. The Lazers changed tactics at that point, however, and began trapping the Saints all over the court. The strategy proved successful, leading to several Saint turnovers and fueling a 29-13 Onondaga run over the next 6 minutes. When Nick Rizzo (Vernon-Verona-Sherrill) hit a three-pointer, the Lazers had come all the way back to tie at 50-50. After Prior hit a three with 3 seconds to go in the half, Onondaga took a 60-58 lead into the break.
Onondaga kept up the pressure in the second half, and a 10-0 run early in the half extended the Lazer advantage to 74-62 4 minutes into the half. The Onondaga lead stood at 12, 83-71, with just over 13 minutes to go when the Saints went on a 7-1 run of their own to close within 6 points. That would be as close as North Country would get, however, as Onondaga would pull away over the final 13 minutes, growing the lead to as much as 18 points before settling at the final margin.
Tunali had his best game as a Lazer, lading Onondaga with 24 points on 12 of 15 shooting, grabbing 14 rebounds, and blocking 3 shots. Prior added 23 points and 7 assists and Seibt chipped in with 15 points. Tom Graf (Jordan-Elbridge) also reached double figures with 13 points and handed out 7 assists as well. Steve Carder had a huge game for North Country, scoring 42 points and grabbing 13 rebounds. Mateusz Janiewski and Williams added 18 points apiece for the Saints.
Onondaga returns to action this weekend when the Lazers host the annual Onondaga Community College Classic. The Lazers will play Anne Arundel Community College in the first round at 7:00 pm on Saturday. That game will be preceded by the other first round matchup between Nassau Community College and Roxbury Community College, which tips off at 5:00 pm on Saturday. The Classic championship game will be played at 4:00 pm on Sunday, following a 12:00 noon consolation game.
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