Albany, NY— The Sage Colleges' men's basketball team hosted the Pioneers of Utica College on Friday night in Kahl Gym in an Empire 8 match-up. Sage needed overtime but knocked off Utica, 95-89 for the key league win as senior forward Chris Kidd (Troy, NY/Beacon) exploded for a career-high 30 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Gators. With the win, Sage is now 5-6 overall and 1-1 in the Empire 8, while Utica drops to 6-4, and 0-1 in the league.
Sage held a 39-25 lead at the break as Kidd collected 13 points after making 6-of-7 shots from the floor. In the first half, Sage shot 51.5% (17-33), while forcing 14 turnovers by the Pioneers. Junior guard Isaiah Scurry (Albany, NY/Albany) added eight points with three rebounds to pace Sage in the first stanza of play. The Gators led by as many as 16 points (25-9, 9:52) in the first half and never trailed in the first half.
Utica got 10 points with three three-point baskets from sophomore guard Kobe Lufkin (Argyle, NY/Argyle), while sophomore forward Avery Coston (Kerhonkson, NY/Rondout Valley) added six points in the first half.
After leading by as many as 17 points twice in the second half (58-41, 10:42), Sage let Utica back in the game. The Pioneers cut the lead to two as sophomore Ryan Johannes (Southbury, CT) had an offensive rebound and a tip in at 0:30 (Sage 80-78 Utica). After graduate performer Frane Larose (Miami, FL/North Miami Beach Senior) missed two free throws at 0:27, Utica's rookie Darius Hopkins (Tampa, FL/Seffner Christian) tied the game with a layup at 0:20. A missed three-pointer by Hopkins at the buzzer missed the mark to send the game to OT.
In the OT, Hopkins hit a three-pointer at 4:03 to give the Pioneers their only lead of the game. Sage was able to go up by two after a layup by sophomore Josh Gonzalez (Albany, NY/Canajoharie) and a three-pointer by Darius Denmark (Orlando, FL/Evans). Despite their best efforts, Utica was unable to keep pace with Sage down the stretch as the Gators made the most of their free throws as Denmark was 4-4 in the final 35 seconds of overtime.
For the game, Kidd had a career-best 30 points, tying the mark for the eighth most points in a Sage game and also surpassed his Sage rebounding high with 13 boards. He hit 12-of-18 shots from the floor and added three steals with two assists.
Scurry finished with 16 points and five rebounds, while Gonzalez finished with 13 points, five rebounds and a block for Sage. As a team, Sage finished the night shooting 46.6% from the floor (34-73).
Utica's Hopkins collected a team-best 24 points off the bench as he shot 8-16 with three treys and added four boards with two steals and two assists. Lufkin added 19 points as well for the Pioneers.
Sage is back in action on Saturday, January 5 hosting Elmira College in a 5 p.m. Empire 8 contest, while Utica travels to Stevens on Saturday for a4 p.m. Empire contest on the road in Hoboken, NJ.