POTSDAM - SUNY Potsdam held off Canton while Clarkson fell short to Farmingdale State on Friday in the opening round of the North Country Invitational Tournament being staged at Jerry Welsh Gymnasium.
SUNY Potsdam 71, SUNY Canton 69: Both teams held leads as large as six in the opening half. The hosts took their largest lead in the opening 20 minutes six minutes in at 12-6. Over a four minute stretch the Roos used a 13-5 run to turn a two point deficit into a six point lead at 35-29 with 2:17 left in the first half. SUNY Canton led 37-34 at the break.
Potsdam regained a one point lead in the opening minutes out of halftime but it was the Roos who used a 15-5 burst over the next five minutes to take a 52-43 lead on the scoreboard with 14 minutes remaining. Six different players scored for SUNY Canton on the run. The Bears would chip away at the lead over the next five minutes responding with an 11-2 spurt of their own to tie the contest at 54 apiece with 10 minutes to play.
In a game of runs, the Roos remained calm rattling off seven straight points that included a trey from Scott Bartenstein (Potsdam, NY), who nailed three shots from beyond the arc on the night. The Bears trimmed the lead to one with 4:20 on the clock but Khalil Bratton (Queens, NY) hit on a pair of free throws and Rashad Richardson (Rochester, NY) drained a jumper to regain a five point lead.
The Bears took the lead for good with 54 seconds after a Brandon Williams layup to make it 70-69. The Bears missed back-to-back free throws before Williams added one make from the charity stripe as Potsdam was able to hang on for the 71-69 victory.
The Bears had four players in double figures led by a Rob Duquettes double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Joe Estramonte (12), Zac Adams (11) and Rishawd Hendricks (10) also posted double digit points in scoring.
Richardson led the Roos with 14 points shooting 7-for-10 from the field in 19 minutes of action. Sam Annorh (Queens, NY) was the only other player in double figures finishing with 12 points and a game-high five assists.
The Roos dominated bench points getting 43 points from its subs compared to just 25 for the Bears.
Farmingdale 71, Clarkson 67: Leading for most of the second half, the Clarkson men looked to be in position to open the 2013-14 season with a win, but a late scoring drought allowed Farmingdale to slip past the Golden Knights in the first game of the North Country Invitational.
The Golden Knights will take on SUNY Canton at 1 p.m. tomorrow in the classic format of the annual tournament.
Clarkson held a six-point advantage midway through the first half after a Charles McAllister lay in at the 11:01 mark, but Farmingdale State stopped the Clarkson offense and produced a 9-0 run in less than four minutes after Donald Lawes scored on a lay up. However, the Knights were able to shut down the Rams offense down the stretch, turning a three-point deficit into a four-point halftime advantage thanks to a 13-6 run over the course of five of the final six minutes of the half.
The Knights appeared prepared to close out a victory against the Rams, leading the entire second half until Terence Henderson put Clarkson down by a point after a lay up at the 6:16 mark. From that point on, Clarkson was able to rally twice to tie the score, but could never reclaim the lead, as the Knights struggled to make shots from the perimeter, scoring on just two of their 12 attempts from beyond the 3-point line.
Overall, junior John Coleman (Potsdam, NY) led all scorers with 22 points, shooting 11-for-20 from the floor, and all rebounders with 10 boards. Senior Marques Charlton also tacked on 14 points, eight assists and three steals in the contest as Clarkson had 19 assists against just 12 turnovers. Clarkson shot 7-27 from beyond the 3-point arc, and was just under 50 percent from inside the extra-point line (20-for-44).
For the Rams, Terence Henderson had 21 points, shooting 6-9 from the floor and 9-14 from the free throw line. Tim Johnson added 15 points and Donald Lawes struck for another 10 points in helping to lift first-year head coach Brendan Twomey to the win in his coaching debut.