JOHNSTOWN - Everything went well for the Fulton-Montgomery Community College men's basketball team in the opening half of Thursday night's game against SUNY Delhi.
Defensively, the Raiders held Delhi to 21 points, while scoring consistent enough to take a 16-point halftime lead.
However, FMCC coach Ed Collar was not surprised when the Broncos came off the break with a new attitude and made a run at the Raiders.
Fulton-Montgomery Community College’s Andy Irizarry (5) drives past SUNY Delhi’s Ismael Pierre (5) for a lay up during Thursday’s game at FMCC. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)
The Broncos came all the way back, erasing FM's halftime advantage to tie the game at 43 with 8:36 remaining and held on to defeat the Raiders 57-56.
"When we face Delhi every year it is tough because you know they are going to battle you the entire game," Collar said. "A couple years in the past, we have had good leads at the half and they always battle back. The second half tonight, Delhi played as expected, they played tougher and harder and that, combined with a little collapse on our part, led to the result."
The Raiders (4-3) trailed early but pulled away with a 23-6 run that included a four-point play from Darius Ward, who finished with nine points to go with seven points from Andy Irizarry in the opening 20 minutes of play.
The Broncos opened their second-half comeback with a 3-pointer from Ismael Pierre, who led the Delhi's first-half scoring with six points.
Khaleeq Baum answered for the Raiders with a putback, before Delhi went on a 19-4 run to tie the game at 43.
Delhi broke out to a 7-point advantage before Ibrahima Diallo connected for a 3-pointer to tie the game at 7-7 with 7:19 left to play.
The Broncos again surged in front, 55-50, before FMCC again cut the lead to two, 55-53, on a pair of free-throws from Aaron Morton.
The Raiders produced the opportunity they was looking for when their extended defense forced a Delhi turnover with 31.3 seconds left on the clock.
Darius Ward got the ball inbounds to Diallo who drove deep into the Delhi defense before the ball was knocked away, leaving the Raiders looking for a foul call they did not get and giving the Broncos possession with 13 seconds left in the game.
The Broncos broke the Raiders' press and moved into the forecourt before Lateek Anderson was fouled by Irizarry. Anderson came through, making both free-throws to put Delhi up 57-53.
The Raiders got the ball in play and up court quickly for Diallo to connected on an uncontested 3-pointer at the buzzer to put the final score at 57-56 in favor of Delhi.
"We knew they would make a run and when they cut it to six or eight, we did pick it up a little," Collar said. "We didn't have the toughness and energy when we needed it though. The second half, I thought we lost a little bit of our focus. To be one of the best teams you have to be able to play good defense and we did not do that in the second half."
Diallo led the Raiders with 12 points and six rebounds, while Irizarry had 10 points and seven rebounds. Ward finished with nine points and Baum contributed seven points and six rebounds.
Pierre paced the Broncos with his double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds to go with six steals. Quayshawn Mitchell had 13 points and six rebounds, while Stefan Bock added 13 points, two steals and five assists.
SUNY Delhi 57, FMCC 56
Pierre 3-8-15, Mitchell 5-3-15, Nickelson 2-1-5, Bock 4-5-13, Grant 0-1-1, Mehmetaj 1-0-2, Anderson 0-4-4, Toure 1-0-2. Totals: 16-22-57.
Williams 0-3-3, Irizarry 2-5-10, Jack 1-0-2, Dinkins 1-0-3, Baum 3-0-7, Diallo 5-0-12, Stanislas 2-0-4, Ward 3-1-9, Morton 1-6. Totals; 18-13-56.
Halftime: FMCC 37-21.
3-point goals; Delhi 3 (Ismael Pierre, Quayshawn Mitchell 2); FMCC 7 (Darius Ward 2, Ibrahima Diallo 2, Khaleeq Baum, Tyshawn Dinkins, Andy Irizarry).