Cortland basketball falls to Division I Wagner

Nicky Bonura finished 11-of-17 from the floor, including 5-of-10 from 3-point range during Cortland’s season opener against Elmira College Sunday (Darl Zehr Photography)

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – Cortland fell behind by a large margin in the first half but outscored Division I Wagner in the second half of a 90-58 loss to the Seahawks. Cortland, playing its first Division I opponent in a regulation game since December 1993, is now 1-1 on the season. Wagner (1-2) was the Northeast Conference (NEC) regular-season champion and an NIT participant last winter.

Cortland trailed 54-16 at halftime and by a 40-point margin early in the second half, but the Red Dragons were competitive with the Seahawks the rest of the way. Cortland pulled itself to within 27 points with less than three minutes left and held a 42-36 scoring advantage in the second half.

Nicky Bonura (Mount Kisco/Fox Lane) led Cortland with 17 points, including 5-of-9 shooting from the 3-point arc. Kenny Charles (Huntington) finished with career highs of 11 points and six rebounds and Ben Walters (Lockport/Starpoint) scored 11 points. Walters made all five of his free throw attempts. Justin Cooper (Pine Plains/Stissing Mountain) matched Charles with six rebounds.

Romone Saunders paced Wagner with 26 points and added seven rebounds and three assists. Elijah Davis scored 17 points and handed out a team-best five assists. Davis made 7-of-11 shots overall and 3-of-4 from the arc. Devin Liggeons finished with 14 points and nine boards and AJ Sumbry pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds.

Cortland shot only 19 percent from the field overall in the first half, but hit 44 percent of its shots (including 7-of-16 treys) in the second half. Wagner shot 60 percent in the opening 20 minutes – 7-of-14 from 3-point range – but cooled down to 42 percent overall (and 2-of-12 from long distance) in the second half.

Cortland will be idle until traveling to Ithaca on Tuesday, Nov. 27 at 7 p.m. for a non-league matchup.