POTSDAM, N.Y. – The SUNY Potsdam men's basketball team (9-16, 5-13 SUNYAC) dropped their season finale to SUNY Cortland (21-4, 15-3 SUNYAC) Saturday afternoon. The Red Dragons used a strong second half surge to defeat the Bears, 69-56. Senior guard Mark Lake, Jr. led the Bears with 16 points and six rebounds.
The lead would exchange seven times in a tightly contested first half as both team battled to gain momentum. Cortland struck first at the 19:36 mark with a three pointer from senior guard Jeremy Smith. Lake would answer 20 seconds later with a steal and a pull up jumper to put Potsdam on the board. Each team would fight for position for the next seven minutes until back-to-back threes by Smith gave the Red Dragons a five-point lead. However, senior forward Curtis Pierce would answer with a deep bucket from beyond the arc with 10:40 remaining to stop the Cortland momentum. The Red Dragons held the slight edge over the Bears for five more minutes until Lake connected on a three pointer to give Potsdam a two-point lead. The battle ensued but it was the Bears who would claim the 33-32 advantage at halftime with back-to-back buckets by junior forward Colin Peterson.
Once again, Potsdam would struggle to stop a red-hot three point shooting squad. The Red Dragons connected on 10 baskets from beyond the arc to surge past the Bears. Cortland would open the final stanza on a 14-5 run to increase the lead to eight points with 15:28 remaining. Potsdam had no answer as four straight free throws by Smith extended the deficit to 16 points at the 7:22 mark. The Bears attempted to mount a final offensive but the Red Dragons held off the charge to secure the 69-56 victory.
Potsdam shot 42% from the floor and 18% from the three-point line. Cortland finished shooting 41% from the field and 50% from beyond the arc. The Red Dragons edged the Bears in rebounds 34 to 30. Peterson finished with 11 points and five rebounds. Sophomore forward Zac Adams added 10 points and five boards.
Smith led the Red Dragons with 29 points including six three-point baskets. Senior guard Brian Manning and junior forward Kevin McMahon each notched 11 points.
Pierce finishes his career tied for 6th place on the all-time scoring list with 1,447 points and claims sole possession of the 6th spot on the all-time rebounding list with 725 boards.