Albany, NY – The Sage Colleges' men's basketball team hosted the Panthers of SUNY-Old Westbury on Tuesday evening in the first ever home playoff game for the Gators. Seeded fourth, the Gators hosted the fifth seeded Panthers, but did not advance as Old Westbury triumphed 81-69. Old Westbury will travel to top seeded Purchase College on Thursday, February 27 for an 8 p.m. match-up in the semifinals. SUNY-Old Westbury improves to 15-11 overall, while Sage's tournament run is ended with a 15-11 mark. The 15 wins on the 2013-2014 season is the most for the Gators in the five-year history of the team.
Old Westbury buried 10 first half three-pointers and led 46-34 at the break. Junior Floyd Leroy (Spring Valley, NY/Albertus Magnus) connected for 14 points in the first half and was 3-3 from downtown, while junior guard Omari Trebuse (Brooklyn, NY/Mt. Zion Christian Academy) had nine points in the first half and added a 2-2 performance from beyond the arch as the Panthers combined for a 10-18 effort from three-point range. By game's end Floyd netted 23 points and was 4-5 from three-point range, while Trebuse added 11 points with five assists.
Sage's junior Kai Deans (Miami, FL/Monsignor Pace) connected for 23 points and made 11-of-16 from the free throw line, while making 6-9 from the floor. Sophomore Melvin Ford (Voorhees, NJ/Eastern Regional) added 20 points and a team-best nine rebounds. Senior Ryan LaBelle (East Berne, NY/Berne-Knox-Westerlo) connected for 13 points with eight rebounds and added four steals.
During the second half the Gators continued to chip away at the Panthers' first half lead and took a 63-62 lead with 5:32 left as LaBelle sunk a jumper. OW regained the lead as senior Andrew Andries (Baldwin, NY/Baldwin) made a jumper at 5:09, giving his team a 64-63 lead and the Panthers never looked back as Sage was unable to come within striking distance. Down the stretch made six straight free throws in the last minute of play and by game's end led by 12 points.
The Gators must now wait for news of a possible ECAC Division III Tournament bid when the tournament field is announced on Monday afternoon. Sage has earned a pair of ECAC Tournament appearances, while the 2014 Skyline Conference tournament appearance was the second in the program's five-year history.