Late Run Powers Pioneers Past Mavericks

Posted on Dec 31 2015 - 3:47pm by Jeff Pexton
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Courtesy of Utica College Sports Information Department

Photos Courtesy of Perfect Game Imaging

UTICA, NY – The Utica College men’s basketball team closed out the contest on a 33-14 run, taking their first lead of the game with 3:18 left in the second half, to earn a 76-73 come from behind victory over visiting Medaille College on Wednesday night at the Harold T. Clark Athletic Center Gymnasium. Sophomore Ivan Iton(Ossining, NY/Ossining) led the Pioneers with 17 points and 15 rebounds, marking his second double-double of the season.

Utica snapped a three game losing streak and improved to 3-5 overall on the year headed into its Empire 8 Conference opener at Alfred University on Tuesday (6 p.m.). Medaille’s record moved to 3-6 overall on the year.

Medaille led by as many as 16 points, 59-43, with 12:53 to go in the second half before the Pioneers made their late charge to earn their first home victory of the season.

The Mavericks opened up a 16-7 lead in the first 5:13 of the contest after Jacob Denz converted on a three-point play early in the game. Denz would finish the night with nine points and a team-high nine rebounds. Medaille controlled play for the majority of the first half, leading by as many as ten points on four occasions, and ultimately earned a 42-34 lead headed into the half.

The visitors opened the second half on a 17-9 run in the first 7:07 to take their largest lead of the contest, 59-43, with 12:53 to go.

That’s when the Pioneers started to chip away and they used a 29-11 run in less than nine minutes to knot the score at 70-70 after Agim Hamiti (Prishtina, Kosovo/Syracuse Academy of Science) grabbed an offensive rebound and converted on the put back to tie the score for the first time since the opening minutes of the game. Hamiti, who was competing in his first game of the season, finished with 10 points and seven rebounds.

Utica freshman Justin Mayers (Hastings, NY/Hastings on the Hudson) added a career-high 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the floor, while leading scorer Robert Tutein (Nanuet, NY/Nanuet) also netted 14 points in the victory. Carl Taylor (East Brunswick, NJ/East Brunswick) added nine points, six rebounds and five assists for Utica and Seamus McHugh (Latham, NY/Shaker) posted six points on 2-of-6 shooting from behind the arc.

Chris Willingham scored a game-high 18 points for Medaille, while Justice Fagan added 16 points.

As a team, the Pioneers connected on 10-of-26 3-pointers and scored 13 points off of 12 Medaille turnovers.