Cortland men’s basketball outscores Elmira in season opener

Nicky Bonura finished 11-of-17 from the floor, including 5-of-10 from 3-point range (Darl Zehr Photography)

Cortland vs. Elmira College
Saturday, November 10, 2018; Speidel Gymnasium; Elmira, N.Y.

FINAL SCORE: Cortland 102, Elmira 94

Box Score:

ELMIRA, N.Y. – Nicky Bonura (Mount Kisco/Fox Lane) scored a career-high 31 points and hit five of Cortland’s 16 shots from 3-point range as the Red Dragons opened the season with a 102-94 win at Elmira College.

Bonura made 5-of-10 attempts from 3-point range and also dished out four assists. Justin Cooper (Pine Plains/Stissing Mountain) added 23 points and matched his career best with 14 rebounds. He was 6-of-10 from the field and 9-of-10 from the foul line.

Ryan Schmadel (Oriskany) finished with 14 points and a career-high seven rebounds. He made four of five 3-point attempts. Ben Walters (Lockport/Starpoint) chipped in with a career-best 12 points on 4-of-10 shooting from the arc and Zach Lydon (Elizaville/Stissing Mountain) tallied 10 points.

Three players reached the 20-point mark for Elmira (0-1), led by Henry Cuffee’s 24 points. Cuffee finished 6-of-7 from the 3-point line. Shawn Backus scored 22 points on 8-of-13 field goal shooting and 6-of-6 free throw accuracy, and Jesse Adelson made 6-of-8 shots from 3-point range and ended with 21 points, three assists and three steals. Justin Porrett led the Soaring Eagles with 14 assists and nine rebounds.

Cortland trailed 48-32 with 3:36 left in the first half but finished the period on a 9-0 run, starting with a Lydon jumper and ending with a layup by William Lee Moore (Rochester/Greece Olympia), to close to within 48-41.

The Red Dragons eventually tied the game at 52 on a Bonura layup with 16:02 left and took their first lead since the game’s opening basket when Schmadel made a 3-pointer at the 13:41 mark to put the guests up 60-59.

The game remained tight for the next 10 minutes. Elmira tied the contest at 82 when Kyle Kokoskie hit a layup with 3:44 left. Bonura answered with a jumper 18 seconds later and he hit a trey at the 2:43 mark to make it a five-point lead. Lydon sank two free throws with 2:10 left, and Bonura buried a 3-pointer with 1:24 left to extend Cortland’s lead to 92-82.

Cortland led by at least six the rest of the way as Cooper went 6-for-6 and Bonura 4-for-4 from the foul line over the final 1:03.

Cortland shot 56 percent from the field, including 65 percent (20-for-31) in the second half. The Red Dragons made 46 percent of their 3-pointers (16-of-35) and shot 84 percent (16-of-19) from the foul line. Elmira finished at 51 percent from the field, 56 percent from the arc (15-of-27) and 9-for-9 from the charity stripe.

Cortland will travel to Wagner College on Tuesday at 6 p.m. for the Red Dragons’ first regular-season game versus a Division I opponent since the 1993-94 season. Cortland played at Cornell in December 1993 in a game that counted and last season made a trip to Cornell for a November exhibition game.