ALFRED, N.Y. (February 9, 2019) – A fight to the finish was what the SUNY Delhi men's basketball team experienced Saturday evening in their road rematch with ACAA-foe Alfred State. After beating fellow conference opponent Pratt less than 24 hours prior, the Broncos held a 73-69 lead over the slated ACAA Tournament hosts with just over a minute to play. The Pioneers made the final five points of the game, however, that gave Delhi its first loss in six games to stand at 14-10 on the year. It was also just the Broncos' second defeat of 2019, and second this season decided by two points or less.
Saturday's thriller served as a foreshadowing of the ACAA Tournament, which begins Saturday, Feb. 23 at Alfred State. The Broncos, who had previously beaten the Pioneers, 77-68, at home on Jan. 30, earned the second seed for the tournament, and will play third-seeded Pine Manor in the semifinals that Saturday at 7:00 p.m. Prior to their game, the host Pioneers received the fourth seed, and will face top-seed Thomas More in the 5:00 p.m. game. The winners of each contest will face off in the league finals on Sunday, Feb. 24 at 2:30 p.m.
While both sides played a competitive first half, Alfred State held the edge to start, leading by as much as 11 points before halftime at 38-27 with 2:41 to play. The Broncos ended the half strong on a 10-2 run to trail just 40-38 at intermission. Neither team would gain much traction in the second half, with the Pioneers holding as much as a pair of five-point leads. Even their latter 67-62 lead with 5:52 remaining was not safe from the Broncos, as Delhi powered through with an 11-2 run for the 73-69 lead with 1:53 to go.
Following a pair of possession changes, Alfred State's Josh Reding drilled a three to get the Pioneers back to within one at 73-72 with one minute remaining. Reding then forced Delhi into a steal on the ensuing possession that Tahaji Lewis cashed in for the go-ahead layup with 16 seconds to play. After a timeout, the Broncos went in looking for the final word, but could not convert on three field goal chances. Norman Wilson's first shot missed the mark, where Payton Dean then grabbed the ball and put up a shot that also missed. William Knight got the rebound, but his tip, too, failed to go in.
Knight made 5-of-7 threes on the evening to lead Delhi with 22 points. Justin Daoud recorded 15 points with eight rebounds, while Wilson made 11 points with five boards. Dean made ten points with six rebounds, as Carlos Ithier went 3-for-4 from long range for nine points.
The rebounding battle played a major factor Saturday, as Delhi trailed, 44-28, on the glass, including a 12-5 Alfred State edge in offensive rebounds. The Broncos and Pioneers both shot 26-of-59 for 44.1 percent shooting. Delhi made 9-of-24 threes, but it would be Alfred State that made more with an 11-of-22 showing. Head coach Zack Thomsen's team made 12-of-18 free throws to the home team's 11-of-15. Delhi held a 30-26 advantage in points in the paint, and forced the Pioneers into 17 turnovers for an 18-14 edge in points off turnovers.
Coach Thomsen's Broncos have one more test before making the return trip to Alfred State, playing College of St. Joseph in their home finale on Saturday, Feb. 16 at 3:00 p.m.