WASHINGTON – Gallaudet University was a few seconds away from escaping Saturday's North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) men's basketball game at home with a win against SUNY Cobleskill. The Bison clung to a 57-55 lead before Mike Chapman made a jump shot, from the left side of the key, to send the game to overtime.
In the extra period, the Fighting Tigers made 12 of 16 free throw attempts and outscored the Bison, 15-7, en route to a 72-64 victory.
Gallaudet (7-4, 3-2 NEAC) led 33-21 at halftime and increased its margin to 14-points to start the second half before SUNY Cobleskill (4-8, 2-2 NEAC) mounted a comeback. The Fighting Tigers went on an 18-2 run, during a seven-minute stretch, as GU turned the ball over seven times and made 1 of 4 shots from the field.
The game was tied at 39 midway through the second half before SUNY Cobleskill took control and led by as much as seven points, 49-42, with 5:37 left in regulation. Gallaudet chipped away at the deficit and whittled it down to one before taking its first lead in over 12 minutes.
Freshman forward Andy Cruz (Bronx, N.Y.) made two free throws as GU led 54-53 with 44 seconds left. Cobleskill forward Cortrell King (20 points, seven rebounds) answered with a layup before senior guard Anton Jackson (Detroit, Mich.) made 1 of 2 free throws to knot the game at 55 with 20 seconds left. Chapman (17 points, eight rebounds) turned the ball over at the 11-second mark before Alexis Nunez (21 points, nine rebounds) fouled junior guard Todd Bonheyo (Frederick, Md.), who made two free throws as GU led 57-55 with nine ticks left on the clock. That set the stage for Chapman's last second jumper.
Junior guard Trey Gordon (Talladega, Ala.) scored 10 of his team-high 17 points in the first half as he finished with three three-pointers. Cruz was the second leading scorer for the Bison as he matched his career-high 15 points to go with eight rebounds, three steals and three assists while Bonheyo finished with a career-high 14 points, five rebounds, five assists and three steals. Jackson brought down a season best 13 rebounds.
Gallaudet, ranked No. 1 in Division III for field goal percentage defense, held the Fighting Tigers to 32.1 percent (9 of 28) from the field in the first half. SUNY Cobleskill shot 55.2 percent (16 of 29) in the second half when it outscored Gallaudet 36-24. The Bison held a slight edge in rebounds, 40-38, but were outscored 36-14 in the paint and the Fighting Tigers scored 26 points off the 24 Bison turnovers. The game was quite physical as the teams combined for 52 fouls as Cobleskill led the way with 28 personal fouls.
This is the second overtime loss for the Bison this season as they fell to Yeshiva (9-3) in the season opener, 74-73, at home.
Gallaudet returns to the court tomorrow (Sunday, Jan. 18) to face SUNY Polytechnic (3-9, 2-2 NEAC) in another NEAC contest at 3 p.m.