by Ethan Herman and Connor O'Rourke
Purchase men’s basketball (0-2) fell to Cortland (1-0) in their home opener by a score of 87-86 on Friday Nov. 15.
On the third attempt of the tip-off, the Cortland Red Dragons won the ball to start the game.
Early in the game, Cortland pulled out to a 12-4 lead over the Panthers and there was very little life from the large crowd gathered in the gym. Coach Martin was visibly frustrated at the beginning of the first half, however, the Panthers wasted no time turning that around.
Purchase fought back with a couple of three-pointers from junior guards Eric Block and Jorge Perdomo which brought the Panthers within one point halfway through the first half.
Momentum seemed to be shifting from the away half of the gym, which housed Cortland’s fans, to the home bleacher’s where the Panther student section was loud and proud. To cap off the momentum change, a huge dunk by number four, captain Maxx Miller, silenced the Cortland crowd and drove the Purchase crowd wild. Although the dunk was called back for a travel, the play represented a huge momentum swing in favor of Purchase, which would last the rest of the first half.
To keep Purchase’s small lead at the end of the first, Block nailed a deep three at the buzzer to make the score 45-37 at halftime.
Purchase opened the second half hot with a three-pointer from Perdomo, followed by a big steal from junior captain, Elijah Lott.
Momentum continued to swing throughout the second half just as the score did. Two behind the back passes from Lott that both resulted in points for the Panthers, won over the crowd and Purchase seemed to be sailing smoothly with a commanding 50-37 lead.
After a string of 3 pointers, and some defensive play-making, Cortland was down by just one.
With the score now at 77-76 with very little time left, the anticipation within the gym begin to rise. Two free throws made by number 10, Brian Fitzpatrick, for Cortland, tied the game up at 81. Lott followed up with a clutch three to give his team the lead with only 1 minute and 40 seconds left in the second half, making the score 84-81. With only 33 seconds left number 14 for Cortland, Jake DiSanto, hit another three-pointer to tie the game once again.
After a Purchase timeout, number one, Block, was fouled and sent to the free-throw line. After making both free throws it was now Cortland’s ball with just 17 seconds left and the Panthers leading by 2. Down by two points, number 32, captain Ryan Schmadel, drained a deep three to take the lead for the Red Dragons, leaving only 5 seconds on the clock for Purchase to regain the lead.
Putting up a hail mary from midcourt was not enough for Purchase as they lost by just one point to visiting Cortland, 87 to 86. Purchase fans were completely in shock as the final seconds ticked off the clock. Despite the tough loss, the 2019 Panthers roster displayed a great amount of talent and promise throughout the game.
Perdomo led the Panthers in scoring with 22 points in the game, while Lott scored 20 points with 14 rebounds and Miller went on to score 17 points