The Alfred State men's basketball team outscored Cazenovia 49-38 in the 2nd half as they defeated the Wildcats 82-76 in the season opener for both teams. Four different Pioneers finished in double figures in the contest.
The Pioneers trailed by five at half, 38-33, and by as many as 11 early in the second half before getting the offense going going on a 24 to 13 run in the next 6:41 to tie it at 59-59. With the game tied at 67-67, Alfred State scored eight of the next ten points to build their biggest lead. A lead they would not give up the rest of the way.
Alexshay Pearce (Rochester/Charlotte) led the Pioneers with 26 points (9 for 11 from the foul line) in his blue & gold debut. Marcus Rhett (Middletown) finished with 17 points and a team high eight boards, Tahaij Lewis (Rochester/Greece Olympia) came off the bench and had 12 points and seven rebounds, and Juwan Toliver (Buffalo/McKinley) added 10 points, nine assists, and five steals.
The Pioneers shot 43.8% from the field for the game (28 for 64), connected on four of 17 three-point attempts, and were 22 for 33 from the foul line. The blue & gold were credited with 16 steals on Cazenovia's 25 turnovers.
Wil Thompson recorded a double-double to lead Cazenovia. He finished with 14 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists. Nicholas Filippi and Jawaan Crouch both finished with 12 and Brian Daly came off the bench and chipped in 10 points and seven rebounds.
The Wildcats shot 46.6% from the field (27 for 58), hit eight of 21 three-point attempts, and shot 58.3% from the foul line. Cazenovia held a 45 to 37 advantage on the glass.
In the other opening day contest of the Special Tees Tip-Off Classic, Alfred University edged D'Youville 80-77.
The Special Tees Classic continues tomorrow at Alfred University. The Pioneers battle D'Youville at 2 p.m. followed by AU taking on Cazenovia at 4 p.m.