Cortland basketball defeats Fredonia behind Nicky Bonura’s career-high 33 points

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)

FREDONIA, N.Y. – Nicky Bonura (Mount Kisco/Fox Lane) scored a career-high 33 points, 23 in the second half, and Justin Cooper (Pine Plains/Stissing Mountain) recorded 19 points, four assists and a career-high 18 rebounds as Cortland defeated host Fredonia, 78-65, in a SUNYAC matchup.

Zach Lydon (Elizaville/Stissing Mountain) and Kenny Charles (Huntington) each scored seven points, with Charles also blocking a career-best five shots, and Ryan Schmadel (Oriskany) added five points, five rebounds and a career-high five assists for the Red Dragons (4-2, 2-1 SUNYAC).

De’Quan Smith scored 13 points, Kadeem Riddick tallied 10 points and Isaiah Ice finished with nine points and five assists for Fredonia (0-6, 0-2 SUNYAC).

Cortland trailed 34-32 at the half, but Bonura scored the Red Dragons’ first 13 points of the second half during a 13-5 streak that put Cortland ahead 45-39. Three-pointers by Schmadel and Bonura and a Cooper layup extended the margin to 11 points with just five minutes elapsed in the half.

Cortland’s largest lead came at 61-43 with 12:07 remaining on a Cooper dunk off a feed from Schmadel. Fredonia, however, whittled away at its deficit and eventually got to within four points at 66-62 on a Tyler Roberts 3-pointer with 2:56 on the clock.

Bonura hit a layup with 1:39 left to give Cortland a six-point edge, and Cooper helped ice the game by hitting all eight of his free throws the rest of the way. Cooper finished 11-for-12 from the charity stripe, with the 11 made free throws one shy of his career best.

Bonura was 0-for-5 from the arc in the first half but hit 5-of-9 treys over the final 20 minutes. As a team, Cortland was only 2-of-17 from the 3-point line in the opening half but buried 6-of-13 attempts in the second half. Cortland shot 43 percent from the field overall and 91 percent (20-of-22) from the foul line. Fredonia was 41 percent from the field but only 4-for-8 from the free throw line.

Cortland will play at Buffalo State Saturday at 4 p.m.