Albany, NY – The Sage Colleges' men's basketball team hosted the Knights of Mt. St. Mary College in a Skyline Conference match-up as both teams entered the night unbeaten in early conference play. Despite a second half run by the Gators, MSMC triumphed 84-83 to remain unbeaten in the league. MSMC improves to 5-3 overall and 2-0 in the Skyline Conference, while Sage drops to 4-3 and 1-1 in the Skyline.
MSMC led 43-34 at the break as they shot 53.1% from the floor (17-32) and were paced by the play of senior forward Chris Pisciotta (New Hyde Park, NY/Kellenberg Memorial) as he had 11 points. Senior guard Joe Stabach (Staten Island, NY/St. Joseph by the Sea) added nine points for the Knights. MSMC held a 15 points lead twice during the first half (38-23, 3:24 and 40-25, 2:42) before Sage cut the lead to nine points as
Junior Kai Deans (Miami, FL/Monsignor Pace) connected for a layup right before the halftime buzzer.
For the first half, Sage's Deans lead the way with nine points and six rebounds, while senior guard Ryan La Belle (East Berne, NY/Berne-Knox-Westerlo) connected for eight points.
The Gators came out strong and went on a 10-3 run to pull within two points, down 46-44 at the 16:24 mark. The game was tied for the first time in the second stanza at 15:15 as graduate student Jeff Stopera (Scotia, NY/Scotia Glenville) added a jumper. By game's end there were five ties with the last coming at the 5:43 mark (71-71). The Knights would build a seven point lead (82-75 at 0:39) as Stabach and senior guard Donte Howell (Baldwin, NY/Baldwin Senior) combined for the Knights.
Sage would benefit from a three-pointer from LaBelle at 0:22 to pull Sage within three points, down 83-80. The Knights were in the double bonus, but missed seven free throws in the last minute of the game. Rookie Brett Ullman (Sharon Springs, NY/Sharon Springs Central) hit a three pointer at 0:01 to pull Sage within one point, 84-83. The Gators fouled Howell and he went to the line at the 0:01 mark, but missed the pair as MSMC shot just 50.0% from the line (15-30).
For the game, Stabach led all players with his 22 points, while Pisciotta added 15 points and Howell netted 13 points. Senior forward Joe Henain (Hopewell Junction, NY/John Jay) hauled in 15 rebounds with nine points and three blocked shots in the action.
Sage's starting lineup all finished in double-digits in the contest, paced by Dean's 15 points. LaBelle and sophomore Melvin Ford (Voorhees, NJ/Eastern Regional) each had 14 points. Stopera finished with 13 points and six assists before fouling out of the game in the final second after 39 plus minutes of work. Senior forward Mason Horne (Albany, NY/La Salle Institute) added a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds, while handing out eight assists in the contest.
Sage will return to action on December 8 hosting Yeshiva University in a 2 p.m. Skyline Conference game in Kahl Gym, while the Knights of Mt. St. Mary College are back in action on December 9 travelling to Centenary College for a 7 p.m. non-conference game.