Cortland Men’s Basketball hosted Buffalo State on Tuesday evening for the SUNYAC quarterfinal playoff game. They met two times this season and each have won a game on their own home court. This time the home court advantage isn’t enough as Cortland lost 61-59 and have been eliminated from the SUNYAC tournament.
Buffalo State’s Lovell Smith posted 18 points, 9 rebounds (4 offensive), and 3 assists, leading the way for the Bengals. They all crashed the offensive glass, outpacing Cortland 18-6 which was a big part of their success in the second half. Two other Bengals, Jordan Chateau and Mike Henry, each grabbed 4 offensive boards.
Coach Spanbauer knew that he would have spread the floor with his big men in Carrel Joseph out and Zach Lydon being limited due to a sprained ankle.
“We tried to attack the zone with spacing. We had a 1-3-1 alignment where we’re trying to work out of the high post area. And we were a little bit inconsistent, we were effective at times and ineffective at other times.”
Justin Cooper was able to operate out of the high post in the second half. He finished with 16 points and 8 boards.
That inconsistency may be due to the lack of experience on the floor for the Red Dragons at times. “Experience-wise we had a lot of guys on the floor that this was the first time they’ve been in a college playoff game. Unfortunately we played like that at some times,” said Spanbauer.
Michael Kelly, the lone senior for Cortland, had 12 points and 5 rebounds including a clutch 3-pointer with 33 seconds left in regulation that brought them to within 2. Unfortunately, that was the last shot made for either team and Cortland fell short.
It’s possible that Cortland will host the first game of the ECAC tournament next week, but that has yet to be confirmed.
It was a great season for the Red Dragons, they should be proud and ready to get to work for next year.