Albany, NY— The Sage Colleges' men's basketball team hosted the Soaring Eagles of Elmira College in an Empire 8 contest Saturday evening in Kahl Gym. Elmira earned the 83-79 win to improve to 3-8 overall and is now 1-1 in the Empire 8, while Sage drops to 5-7 overall and 1-2 in the Empire 8.
Elmira held a 44-39 lead at the break as senior Henry Cuffee (Bel Air, MD/CM Wright) scored 12 of his 16 points in the first half. The Soaring Eagles shot just 27.3% from three-point range in the first half as Cuffee collected two of the team's five made three-pointers (5-18).
The Gators chipped away at Elmira's lead and took their first lead of the second half at the 13:09 mark as graduate performer Frane Larose (Miami, FL/North Miami Beach Senior) made a three pointer (Sage 55-54).
Over the next 13 plus minutes there were 12 ties and six lead changes. Sage's last lead of the game was at 5:27 as sophomore Josh Gonzalez (Albany, NY/Canajoharie) had a layup, giving the Gators a 75-73 lead. Elmira answered with a 4-0 run before senior forward Chris Kidd (Troy, NY/Beacon) hit back to back free throws at 3:21 and then at 3:02, sophomore guard Anthony Mitchell (Bronx, NY/Salesian) hit a layup to tie the game at 79-79 with 3:02 left to play.
Elmira's sophomore forward Shawn Backus (Hamden, CT/The Governor's Academy) had the offensive rebound and put back to put EC up 81-79 with 0:41 left to play as the two teams did not score for two plus minutes. With 0:04 left, Sage's Kidd fouled Cuffee and he made both of his free throws to seal the Elmira victory.
For Sage, Kidd added his second straight double-double with a team-best 19 points and a Sage career best 14 rebounds, while also making a pair of blocks. Joining him in double-digits scoring for Larose with 11 points, while Mitchell and junior guard Darius Denmark (Orlando, FL/Evans) both finished with 10 points.
Elmira's senior guard Justin Porrett (Dumont, NJ/Dumont) led the action with his 20 points, seven assists and six boards. He had 11 second half points to lead the action and was joined in double-digit scoring by Backus who netted 15 points for Elmira.
Sage is back in action on Friday, January 11 at St. John Fisher College in a 7:30 p.m. Empire 8 contest, while Elmira will face Division I Columbia University in an exhibition game on January 12 at 2 p.m.