POTSDAM. – The SUNY Potsdam men’s basketball team continued its preseason Monday night with a 67-65 loss against Algonquin at Welsh Gymnasium.
Algonquin’s Seaton George sealed the Bears’ fate with a pair of free throws with just under seven seconds remaining. A last-second 3-point attempt by freshman Rob Duquette (Peru, N.Y.), who tied the game at 65-65 with 19 seconds left, was no good.
Sophomore forward Curtis Pierce (Brooklyn, N.Y.) paced the Potsdam offense with 16 points and nine rebounds, also a team high. Senior guard Eddie Cross (Hudson, N.Y.) tallied 14 points, including four 3-pointers, while sophomore Jordan McCallister (Cornwall, Ontario) chipped in with 10 points off the bench.
After a slow start, freshman guard Greg Torchon (Spring Valley, N.Y.) recovered nicely to post five assists before fouling out in the closing seconds.
After falling behind 30-16 at the 3:22 mark of the first half, Potsdam rattled off a 14-3 run to end the period, capped by Pierce’s 3-point play with 47 seconds to play.
The Bears carried the momentum into the second, taking a 36-35 lead, their first of the game, with 17:11 remaining.
“I thought we did a nice job of getting some run-outs and transition baskets,” Potsdam coach Sherry Dobbs said. “We were able to get the ball down the floor and get some layups in the second half.”
The rest of the half stayed close as the teams engaged in a physical, back-and-forth battle. Potsdam turned the ball over just five times in the second half after recording twice as many miscues in the first. Dobbs also saw improvement defensively as the game went on.
“Defensively, we had stretches where we communicated well with each other and played well off the ball screens they ran,” Dobbs said. “Our young guys continued to compete and play hard even after we got down by 12-14 points. We got back in the game and gave ourselves a chance to win, but we still have a ways to go on defense and in rebounding.”
The Bears shot 50 percent from 3-point range and 39.3 percent from the floor overall for the contest. The Thunder shot 38.9 percent for the game, and outrebounded Potsdam 40-33.
Potsdam opens its 2010-11 regular season next Monday, Nov. 15, against Utica. Tip-off at Welsh Gymnasium is set for 8 p.m. following the conclusion of the Potsdam women’s basketball game against Utica, which begins at 6 p.m.