JOHNSTOWN - The Fulton-Montgomery Community College men's basketball team had plenty of chances but couldn't come up with the big shot late in the game as the Cayuga Spartans outmuscled them 78-73 on Saturday.
FMCC (1-2 overall) was outrebounded 52-38 in the loss against a much bigger Cayuga lineup.
"We knew Cayuga likes to send five guys to the offensive boards a lot, so we focused a lot in practice this week on making sure we box out and be physical," said FMCC head coach Ed Collar. "We didn't do enough of that. We didn't communicate well enough on defense at times."
Fulton-Montgomery?Community?College’s Darius Ward (21) dribbles past Cayuga Community?College’s Glenn Taggart during Saturday’s game. (The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan)
Despite the size difference, the Raiders and the Spartans played a very even first 10 minutes of basketball. Timely shooting by FMCC kept them barely ahead for a good portion of the half. Point guard Kadeem Stanislas and Darius Ward knocked down back-to-back three point shots early in the half for the Raiders before trading baskets with Cayuga (2-3 overall). Neither team could gain a decided offensive advantage until Zaki Thomas stepped up his game for the Spartans.
With his team down by six, Thomas made a 3-pointer that ignited a rally for Cayuga. Mike Guity put one in for three on Cayuga's next possession to tie the game at 24 for the first time since it was 2-2.
After a 3-pointer by Kenny Barr gave FMCC a three-point lead, Cayuga went on a 7-0 run keyed by two baskets by Thomas. Thomas hit two more shots to give him 15 in the half. Bryant Jack scored five of his seven first-half points in the final minutes of the half to close the gap, but Cayuga took a 39-36 lead into the locker room.
FMCC came back strong in the second half led by Barr.
With Cayuga leading 44-41, Barr knocked down his second three-pointer of the game to knot the score. Barr scored four of FMCC's next six points to give the Raiders a four-point lead. The lead wouldn't last long, however, as Thomas and Guity continued to put on a show for Cayuga. Thomas added 12 more points in the half to go with his 15 first-half points, while Guity ended up scoring 14 points.
"We never caught a rhythm except maybe the first few minutes of the second half," said Collar. "We got a little bit of a rhythm but we couldn't sustain it," said Collar.
Cayuga was able to build a lead as the half wore on, but Jack converted a basket to tie the game 59-59. Cayuga then scored six straight points to retake the lead on baskets by DeVaughn Johnson and Thomas, and two free throws by Guity.
Clinging to a three-point lead after a 7-2 run by FMCC in the final minutes, Cayuga twice turned the ball over and FMCC twice could not take advantage. Barr missed the game-tying 3-pointer with less than two seconds remaining on the clock.
"I just thought from the very beginning of the game we didn't have the focus and it showed up in every aspect of the game," said Collar. "We had chances at the end to take the lead and we missed layups where we could have got the lead a couple of times. We didn't execute when we needed to and we didn't get key stops on defense."
Barr led the way for FMCC with 17 points, followed by Stanislas with 12 and Jack with 10. Jack added 12 rebounds while Stanislas added 10 rebounds and four assists. Thomas' 27 points led all scorers and he also chipped in 11 rebounds. Guity, Glen Taggart, and Joe Godette all scored in double figures for Cayuga.
FMCC will look to rebound today against Onondaga with tipoff scheduled for 3 p.m.
Cayuga Community College 78, Fulton-Montgomery Community College 73
Barr 3-9-17, Simmons 2-2-6, Jack 4-2-10, Rivera 4-1-9, Ward 2-2-7, Edwards 2-0-5, Stanislas 5-1-12, T. Davis 1-0-2, Baum 1-3-5. Totals 24-20-73.
Amalu 1-1-3, Taggart 4-6-14, Thomas 10-6-27, Johnson 1-0-2, Godette 6-1-13, Guity 5-2-14, Rufus 0-1-1. Totals 29-17-78.
3-point goals: FMCC 5 (Barr 2, Ward, Edwards, Stanislas); Cayuga 3 (Guity 2, Thomas).
Halftime: Cayuga, 39-36.