SYRACUSE, NY. – February 27, 2012 – The Onondaga Community College men’s basketball team came up short in its bid for a Mid-State Athletic Conference championship, falling 93-68 to host and #1 seed Cayuga Community College in yesterday’s Championship Game. Onondaga had advanced to the title contest with a 95-90 overtime win over Jefferson Community College on Saturday, while Cayuga had defeated Tompkins Cortland Community College, 91-70, in the other semi-final. Cayuga raised their overall record to 16-13, while Onondaga fell to 17-13 on the season.
Onondaga started quickly in Sunday’s title tilt, jumping out to a 5-0 lead on a Michael Scott (Chittenango) basket and a three-pointer by Jordan Prior (Cortland). The Lazers maintained their slim advantage until Scotty Bynum gave the Spartans their first lead at 19-17 with 9:56 to go in the opening half. Cayuga held a 29-25 lead with just over 5 minutes to go in the half, when Bynum scored again to ignite a 22-10 Cayuga run to close the half and send the hosts to the locker room with a 51-35 advantage.
The teams competed on even terms early in the second half. After Prior converted a pair of free throws, Onondaga had narrowed the deficit to 12 at 57-45 with 13:59 to go. Cayuga responded with a 15-4 run, capped by four straight field goals from Shaquille Holley, to build the lead to 72-49 with (;25 to go, and the Lazers would never threaten the rest of the way.
Prior led Onondaga with a game high 22 points and Scott recorded a double double with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Bynum, who was named the Tournament Most Valuable Player, led 6 double figure scorers for Cayuga, tallying 20 points. Dashawn Williamson and Travis Bailey added 17 each for the Spartans. Cayuga held a slight 42-40 rebounding advantage and shot 48.6% from the floor compared to 40.0% for the Lazers. Onondaga hurt itself by committing 32 turnovers, with 20 coming in the opening half, compared to 17 turnovers for Cayuga. The Spartans bench outscored the Lazers bench, 51-16.
The Lazers had advanced to the Championship Game after a 95-90 overtime win over Jefferson on Saturday. Onondaga led throughout much of that contest before a late Cannoneer run gave Jefferson an 84-81 lead with 2:27 to go. A pair of free throws from Kevin Corbin (Cicero-North Syracuse) and another pair from Prior, wrapped around a free throw from Jefferson’s James Blue, tied the game at 85 with 1:13 remaining and when neither team was able to convert in the final minute the teams moved into the extra session. Jesse Gates (Liverpool) opened the extra session with a three-pointer as the Lazers scored the first 6 points and held off Jefferson the rest of the way.
Gates led Onondaga with 20 points and 10 rebounds. He scored 18 of the 20 in the second half and overtime. Corbin and Prior scored 15 and 14 points respectively, and each handed out 5 assists. Scott chipped in 9 points and pulled down a game high 16 rebounds and blocked 4 shots. MSAC Player of the Year Jabriel Blue paced the Cannoneers with 29 points while his brother James added 18. The Lazers were able to overcome 25 turnovers by holding a 60-42 rebounding advantage.
Between games of Saturday’s semi-finals, Jesse Gates was named to the Mid-State Athletic Conference All-Conference Team. On Sunday, he was also named to the National Junior College Athletic Association Region 3 All-Region 2nd Team. This marks the second consecutive year that Gates has received each of these honors. Lazers Jordan Prior, Brandon Seibt (Central Square P.V. Moore), and Corbin were honorable mention All-Conference selections.
This weekend, Onondaga will compete in the NJCAA Region 3 Division III Tournament, to be held at Jefferson. The Lazers were awarded the #7 seed, and will face #2 SUNY Delhi in a quarter-final contest Friday afternoon at 3:00 pm. The winner of that contest will face the winner of the 1:00 pm quarter-final between #6 Cayuga and #3 Mohawk Valley Community College in a semi-final at 1:00 pm on Saturday. The regional championship game will be on Sunday afternoon at 1:00 pm. The winner of this week’s regional tournament will advance to the NJCAA National Championship Tournament March 15th through 17th at Sullivan County Community College in Loch Sheldrake, NY.
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