The Cortland Men’s Basketball team came away with an 84-64 win over Potsdam on Saturday for their last home game of the regular season. Michael Kelly, the lone senior for Cortland being honored on Senior Day, finished with 15 points, 5 boards and drilled two 3-pointers.
Kelly had the hot hand on Saturday for the Red Dragons as he was their leading scorer. “I just went out and had fun. My guys got me the ball where I needed to get the ball and I executed on 50% of my shots I’d say (laughs),” said Kelly.
“He’s being a great leader for us and doing a lot of the intangible things that don’t show up on the stat sheet,” Coach Spanbauer said about Kelly. “He’s a guy right now that’s like glue for us. He’s doing a lot of communicating, holding guys together and making sure the team is organized. He’s a great leader right now.”
Michael Kelly hasn’t always filled the role he is thriving in currently. He has worked tirelessly over the past 3 seasons to become an every day starter for Spanbauer. “I never let anyone tell me I couldn’t do something and I think that shows. Coach has a ton of confidence in me now and I have a group of great guys with me always pushing me, telling me to stay level headed and I’ll be alright.”
Defense has been a key focus for the Red Dragons as of late. Five different players had two or more steals on Saturday, including Justin Cooper who tallied 14 points and 6 rebounds. Big men Justin Prendergast and Zach Lydon had multiple steals and 2 blocks each, holding down the paint.
In the first half when their best defensive lineup was in, they held Potsdam to just 31% from the floor. Potsdam simply couldn’t find an answer for the hard-nose defense Coach Span had his team playing.
“We’re trying to establish the tone of the game on the defensive end of the floor and I think our guys did that,” said Coach Spanbauer.
With Carrel Joseph done for the season, Coach Span is looking for everyone to step up when their name is called. “We’re going to need more guys that haven’t played to be ready to play in case we have to go deeper into the bench.”
In addition to the strong defense Cortland displayed on Saturday, their offense was tough to match. Nicky Bonura was efficient when on the floor, going 6-9 with 13 points and a single 3-pointer. Isaiah Cotton flashed finesse in the paint, finishing a couple beautiful layups where he’d disappear in a mix of defenders and come away with a bucket after kissing the ball off the glass. He totaled 10 points including four from the foul line.
Cortland is away for the next two weekends until the first round of the SUNYAC tournament. They will be at Buffalo State next Friday at 5:30 p.m.