Bengals edge Bears in men's basketball thriller, 85-84
Saturday, December 8, 2012 - 12:43 am

POTSDAM, N.Y. – The SUNY Potsdam men's basketball team (2-5, 0-3 SUNYAC) fell to Buffalo State (5-1, 3-0 SUNYAC) on a last second bucket Friday evening. Senior forward Curtis Pierce led the Bears with a season-high 26 points and seven boards. Junior Rob Duquette added a double-double performance with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Pierce put the Bears on the board first with a three-point basket 42 seconds into the game. Potsdam never relinquished the lead for the rest of the first half. The Bears began to pull away when freshman guard Joe Estramonte drilled a shot from beyond the arc at the 12:27 mark and sparked an 8-0 run. Duquette added a layup with 1:23 remaining in the half to extend the Potsdam lead to 17. The Bengals added back-to-back three point baskets in the final minute to cut the Bears lead to 45-32 going into halftime.

Buffalo State came out firing in the second half. The Bengals opened the half with back-to-back three pointers to ignite a 19-8 run in just four minutes. The Bears continued to battle against the Buffalo State momentum. Junior forward Brandon Williams connected on a layup at the 13:50 mark to extend the Potsdam lead to 10 points. The Bengals continued to put pressure on the Bears with full court pressure and red-hot shooting. Junior forward Ryan Carney converted an old fashion three-point play to give Buffalo State their first lead of the game with 7:16 remaining. Both teams battled back-and-forth going into the final minute of play. Duquette cut the Bengals lead to two with 19 seconds remaining. Immediately after, Pierce stepped in front of a pass and attempted a three point shot. A costly Carney foul sent the senior to the line. Pierce converted on each free throw attempt to give the Bears a one-point advantage with 10 seconds remaining. However, time was against Potsdam as a missed layup and a put-back basket by sophomore forward Anyar Majak sealed the 85-84 victory for the Bengals.

The Bears shot 37% from the floor and shot 50% from beyond the arc, connecting on 10 three point baskets. Estramonte posted 12 points and senior guard Josh Lambert added 11 points and six rebounds.

Buffalo State shot 44% from the floor, while shooting 75% from three-point range in the second half. Sophomore guard Roderick Epps led the Bengals with 22 points. Senior guard Jake Simmons tallied 20 points and five boards. Carney totaled 15 points and four rebounds. Majak posted a double-double with 12 points and 11 boards. Senior guard Anthony Hamer rounded out the top scorers with 11 points.

“We did a good job at competing throughout the game,” said Head Coach Sherry Dobbs. “We played hard and made some plays down the stretch. I thought Curtis Pierce and Josh Lambert played very well and were great leaders on the court. I thought Joe Estramonte made some big plays and put us in a position to win the game today. It was a great game, they just were able to make the last play.”

The Bears are back in action tomorrow at 4 p.m. when they host the Fredonia State Blue Devils to finish out the first half of their 2012-13 campaign.