Cortland men's basketball falls to Ithaca on late free throws

James Morales led all scorers with 29 points (Darl Zehr Photography)

Box Score

ITHACA, N.Y. – Sebastian Alderete hit two free throws with 11 seconds remaining to lift Ithaca past Cortland, 86-84, in a non-league men's basketball game that featured six lead changes and two ties in the final three minutes of action. Both teams are now 2-1 on the season.

James Morales (Mount Kisco/Fox Lane) finished with 29 points, six rebounds, five assists and four steals, and Nicky Bonura (Mount Kisco/Fox Lane) finished with 22 points. Bonura went 6-of-10 from the 3-point arc and Morales made 4-of-6 long-distance shots to account for 10 of Cortland's 16 3-pointers. Ryan Schmadel (Oriskany) connected on 3-of-5 shots from 3-point land for nine points, and Jake DiSanto (Rochester/Victor) made two 3-pointers in an eight-point effort.

Justin Cooper (Pine Plains/Stissing Mountain) led the Red Dragons with nine rebounds and shared the team lead with five assists. Zach Lydon (Elizaville/Stissing Mountain) added seven points and seven rebounds.

Riley Thompson and Peter Ezema led Ithaca with 14 points each. Ezema also finished with nine rebounds and four steals. Miles Herman hit 6-of-7 shots from the field and ended with 13 points and 11 rebounds.

Marc Chasin chipped in with 11 points and Alderete finished with nine points and six boards. Carroll Rich dished out five assists for the Bombers, who shot 66 percent from the floor in the second half and 51 percent for the game.

Cortland trailed 63-50 with 12 minutes left, but fought back to within two at 65-63 on a Bonura 3-pointer with 7:34 remaining. Ithaca took a 70-65 lead on Miles Herman's layup with 6:31 left, but DiSanto responded with a 3-pointer at the 6:21 mark, and neither team led by more than four the rest of the way.

Cortland took its first lead of the second half on a DiSanto layup with 2:48 left. Ithaca twice took one-point leads over the next minute, but each time Morales answered with a 3-pointer to put Cortland ahead by two.

Thompson's 3-pointer just 17 seconds after Morales' trey gave Ithaca an 83-82 lead with 1:04 left. After a Cortland miss inside, Chasin was fouled and made the first of two free throws to push the Bombers' lead to two. Morales, however, hit a driving layup with 12 seconds left to knot the game at 84-84.

A Cortland foul in the backcourt put Ithaca on the line for a 1-and-1 just a second later, however, and Alderete made both attempts. Chasin blocked a Red Dragon layup attempt with about six seconds left, but the ball went out of bounds. Cortland had one last attempt for a tie, but a jumper from the left baseline grazed off the rim and the buzzer sounded.

Cortland will host St. John Fisher in a non-league contest Thursday at 7:30 p.m.