AURORA, N.Y. – The Hartwick College Hawks had an 11-point lead evaporate and would have to fight every step of the way to earn their 65-63 victory over the Wells College Express (0-1) in men’s basketball action Tuesday evening in Aurora. The Express climbed to within a bucket with less than five seconds to play but an outlet pass over the top of the defense sealed the victory for Hartwick (1-0) in the opening game of the season for both programs.
Terry Harrison (Brooklyn, N.Y.) paced the Express finishing with a game high 21 points and 11 rebounds for the only double-double of the game. Dave Foltz (Auburn, N.Y.) chipped in with 16 points, five assists, and three steals.
Hartwick had three players reach double figures led by Mark Blazek (Erie, Pa.) with 19 points, followed by Chris Ryder (Port Washington, N.Y.) with 12 points, and Jared Suderley (Newport, N.Y.) with 11 points.
With both teams coming off NCAA tournament appearances just a year ago this game had all the makings for a great match-up and the two squads did not disappoint.
After missing their first four shots the Express went on to hit six of their next seven shots, including three 3-pointers but, the Hawks were equal to the challenge, hitting five of their next seven shots as the Express clung to a 16-14 lead with 13:40 to play in the first half. The Hawks continued their hot shooting going on a 16-4 run to open up a ten point lead (30-20) with 5:30 left to play. Hartwick extended their lead to 11 points but, a final second lay-up by Harrison pulled the Express back to within nine (38-29) heading into the break.
The Hawks quickly came out in the second half and extended their lead to 13 points. Despite the deficit the Express continued to hang around. Two 3-pointers by Foltz and lay-ups from Harrison and Andre Sawyers (Bronx, N.Y.) pulled the Express back to within four (50-46) with 9:12 left to play.
Just as the Express continued to battle so did the Hawks as they would fight back to build an 11-point lead with less than four minutes to play and would continue to lead by 8-points with less than 30-seconds to play. With their backs against the wall the Express refused to give in. Foltz found an open Mike Dicampli (Geneva, N.Y.) in the corner for 3-pointer to pull Wells within five. A foul put Suderley on the line for a one-and-one and he would hit the first shot but miss the second, leaving the door open, as Foltz raced down the floor and finished a lay-up, bringing the lead back down to four (65-61) with ten seconds to play.
On the ensuing inbounds play, the Express caused a turnover and Harrison hit a lay-up to pull the Express to within two points (65-63) but, the Hawks quickly inbounded the ball -- before the Express would have time to set -- running out the clock, and holding on for the hard fought victory.
The Express shot 40 percent from the field, including 10 of 21 from behind the arc but would draw just six free-throws on the game. The Hawks finished 44 percent from the field and shot 9 of 17 from the charity stripe. The Express held a 43-32 advantage on the glass but would commit 17 turnovers to the Hawks eight.
The Express return to action this Friday when they take on Fredonia State at 4 p.m. in game two of the 2011 Oswego State Max Ziel Men’s Basketball Tournament and Classic held in Oswego, N.Y.