ROCHESTER, NY - The Erie Community College men's basketball team fell short of their goal of winning the NJCAA Regional Championships by losing to Genesee Community College in a nail-biting game Saturday night, 87-85.
The Kats started with a strong tempo on offense and it led to early baskets in the opening minutes. About midway through the first half they started to slow down and Genesee begin take advantage. The would take the lead that they would progressively build on throughout the remaining part of the half. The Kats would find some late momentum and pull within six points, heading to halftime down 44-38.
In the second half, the Kats came out much stronger, determined to overtake Genesee CC. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough. While the Kats fought most of the second half, they were only able to close the gap within a few possessions. Finally, after a quick run with under three minutes left, they were able to tie the game at 85, after two free throws by Kareem Sulaiman (Brooklyn, NY / Pacific). Genesee would eventually respond by hitting a layup with six seconds left in the game to take an 87-85 lead. The Kats would have two final shots, but both fell short. A three pointer from the corner was short and a layup with one second left missed as well.
Genesee played great defense throughout the game and it led to a poor overall shooting performance from the Kats as they hit on only 40.3% (27 of 67) from the field, while Genesee hit on 47.1% (33 of 70). The Kats hurt themselves in ball control as well, turning the ball over 18 times while only forcing 12 turnovers. The rest of the stats were pretty even as both teams shot 70% from the free throw line and grabbed 38 rebounds apiece.
Leading the Kats offensively was Stefano Osuji (Gloucester, NJ, Gloucester City) who finished with (30) points and (5) rebounds while Sulaiman totaled (15) points and (8) rebounds. Fabian MacDonald (Brooklyn, NY / Transit Tech) finished with (14) points, (8) assists and (6) rebounds.
The Kats will wait and see if they are seeded in the upcoming district tournament.