Men’s Basketball outlasts Potsdam in OT, 75-70

Emmanuel Rodriguez, Associate Sports Editor

Forward Kay Grant recorded his first career 20-20 game as the SUNY Buffalo State Men’s Basketball team earned a thrilling 75-70 overtime victory over the visiting Potsdam Bears on Saturday afternoon.

“It feels good. That was a gritty game,” said, Grant with a smile from ear-to-ear. “It came down to ‘if you want it’ and not skill or anything like that. We wanted it more and we definitely proved it.”

Grant finished with 22 points along with 20 rebounds, seven of them on the offensive boards.

“(Grant) didn’t show up (on Jan. 11) at Potsdam, he had a bad game and I told him he needed to show up today and he responded,”  Bengals head coach Fajri Ansari said.

None of this came easy for Buffalo State in a game that was tight throughout.

Halfway into the second half, Bengals guard Dom Grayer was able to get a layup to even things up at 47. The teams traded baskets for the rest of the half with neither looking to take advantage and go on a run. The largest lead from that point was six for the Bengals, but the Bears refused to go away.

With 2:30 left in regulation, Bears guard Dante Langley nailed a three to even things up at 64 but soon after, the lid was put on both baskets.

After corralling a missed layup with 35 seconds left, Grant grabbed the rebound and the Bengals looked to take the lead but guard Yosh Bernardez turned the ball over after Bears guard Danny Delsol-Lowry poked it free. The Bears brought it up court but a hard foul on a screen was called on Langley, gifting the ball back to the Bengals with six seconds left.

The Bengals called a timeout and Ansari drew a play in the huddle that couldn’t happen as Buffalo State was forced to call a timeout or turn the ball right back over on a five-second violation.

Ansari drew up another play that was inbounded to guard Ryniek Holloway, he dished it to guard Dom Grayer, but his heel was on the baseline. With 0.8 seconds left, the long inbound for the Bears was deflected and the buzzer went off with things still even at 64.

During the overtime period, the Bengals scored first to break the tie and didn’t relinquish. After Delsol-Lowry hit two free throws with 30 seconds left, Grant was at the line to shoot two after getting fouled. He missed the first shot but converted the second shot to give the Bengals a three-point lead.

The Bears looked to even things up but guard Jayquan Thomas’ attempt was no good. The ball ended in Holloway’s hand and was fouled with six seconds left. He sank two clutch free throws to ice the game for Buffalo State.

“I was just thinking ‘we need this win,’” Holloway said. “Pressure doesn’t really get to me and things like that. I understand it was a big moment but I’m ready for it. It’s not much, just keep cool and follow through.”

Holloway finished with nine points, six of them in overtime.

“When he gets going, I think no one in SUNYAC can stop us,”  Holloway said about Grant’s effort. “He’s a tenacious rebounder, he goes for every board.”

It was a collective all-around effort as Grayer had 16 points, Sheldon Adams had 10 points and Jordan Christopher added nine points as well.

“When I’m killing, my boys killing, too,” Grant said of the help he got from his teammates. “If they double team me, I kick it out and boom!”

With this victory, the Bengals were able to split the season series with the Bears.

The Bengals will be at work again on Sunday as the defending SUNYAC champions Plattsburgh Cardinals make the trip to Buffalo for a 2 p.m. tip.