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PCT lets 2nd-half lead slip away in men’s hoops

With just under eight minutes to play in the second half, Penn College’s Damon Kreider hit a 3-pointer that gave the Wildcats their first double-digit lead of the game, going up by 11 points. But Cazenovia wasn’t going to just go away.

Slowly but surely, Cazenovia started to erase that deficit. A shot here, some free throws there.

It was a game Penn College should have won, but Cazenovia rallied back late in that second half to take the lead and hold off Penn College to win, 88-81, at Bardo Gym on Saturday afternoon.

“Basketball’s a game of runs. You’re going to have ups, you’re going to have downs,” Penn College’s Ben Sosa said. “It’s the team that perseveres through that all. They did a great job, but we just got to be better toward the end.”

It was Penn College that actually erased a double-digit deficit from the first half to take the lead early in the second half. Cazenovia led by 12 points late in the second half before Penn College trailed by just one going into the half and quickly then took its first lead since early in the first half.

Cazenovia used two quick spurts — first a 6-0 run then a 9-0 run — to go ahead by double digits in the first half.

Carson Garvis hit a shot 45 seconds into the second half that put Penn College ahead, 46-45. Penn College proceeded to lead until 2:26 remained in the game when Cazenovia hit two free throws to take an 81-80 lead.

“It started on the defensive end. Our guys dialed it up. We were focused on keeping their drivers out of the paint, we were focused on getting rebounds and I thought we did a good job in the first half of limiting them to one shot and done,” Penn College coach Geoff Hensley said. “That allowed us to get some more extra possessions.”

Penn College struggled to score in the final few minutes of the game. Garvis hit a shot and the ensuing and-1 with 2:55 to play, but after that, Penn College scored just one point the remainder of the game and didn’t hit any shots from the field.

Sosa proved to be a huge force for Cazenovia to contain, as the Loyalsock grad ended with 24 points and nearly had a double-double has he had eight rebounds. Sosa was chasing 1,000 career points and came up just two shy of reaching the milestone in Saturday’s game.

“It’s always on your mind, I had the same feeling in high school as a senior,” Sosa said of knowing he was close to 1,000. “It’s always on your mind, but you’re just going out there and playing.”

Sosa played tough throughout the game, forcing Cazenovia to play physical inside to try to limit his scoring as he went 7 for 12 from the floor.

“Ben was very aggressive today. We need that inside presence because we have some very good perimeter players and when we get Ben going inside, we get clicking on all cylinders,” Hensley said. “I thought he did a very good job attacking the basket, posting up and finishing with and-1s.”

Elijah Vazequez ended with a double-double for Penn College of 15 points and 10 rebounds, and nearly had a triple-double with seven rebounds. Garvis added 14 points.

Penn College out-rebounded Cazenovia, 37-36, something that the team sets as a goal each game. And limiting the amount of second chance opportunities Cazenovia had — it had just eight offensive boards — was big for Hensley’s team.

“One of our goals is always to win the rebounding battle and we won it by one today (37-36),” Hensley said. “We just needed one more 3 to fall in that second half and we couldn’t get it to fall.”

“In practice we pride on that. Me and Carson (Garvis) are the bigs in there, so we know not to let them get more than one chance,” Sosa said.

Cazenovia 88, Penn College 81

CAZENOVIA (3-8, 1-1 NEAC)

Majesty Wilder 9-17 2-2 23; Raishun Richardson 2-6 3-4 7; Thomas Jones 6-10 1-5 13; Will Cutler 2-8 0-0 5; Rashaun Hunter 0-3 1-2 1; Blake Bagozzi 3-6 4-4 13; Lucci Vigliotti 4-8 7-7 16; Jaceary Menes 0-2 0-0 0; Nate Cutler 4-8 0-0 10; Brandon Wick 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 30-68 18-24 88.

PENN COLLEGE (2-9, 0-2 NEAC)

Ben Sosa 7-12 6-10 24; Ryan Lockman 1-1 0-0 2; Carson Garvis 4-11 5-5 14; Elijah Vazquez 5-17 4-4 15; Brody Baker 3-8 0-0 8; Damon Kreider 3-8 0-1 7; Trey McCullough 0-0 0-2 0; Corey Blackwell 0-0 2-2 2; Jesse White 4-4 0-0 9; John Saxe 0-0 0-0 0; Will Sulesky 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 27-61 17-24 81.

Halftime: Cazenovia, 45-44. 3-point goals: Cazenovia 10-27 (Bagozzi 3-5; Wilder 3-7; N. Cutler 2-5; Vigliotti 1-3; W. Cutler 1-4; Hunter 0-1; Menes 0-2), Penn College 10-30 (Sosa 4-6; Baker 2-5; Kreider 1-4; Garvis 1-5; White 1-1; Vazquez 1-9). Fouled out: Cazenovia-none; Penn College-Sosa. Rebounds: Cazenovia 36 (Vigliotti 7), Penn College 37 (Sosa 8). Assists: Cazenovia 18 (Wilder 6), Penn College 20 (Vazquez 10). Technical fouls: Cazenovia-Vigliotti; Penn College-none. Total fouls: Cazenovia 15, Penn College 19. A: 233.

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