ALFRED, NY – Host and #4-seed Alfred State hung on in a tight game to defeat top-seed Thomas More 68-64 in the first semifinal of the ACAA Men's Basketball Championship. The Pioneers will play the winner of SUNY Delhi – Pine Manor game at 2:30 p.m. ET Sunday for the championship.
Alfred State never trailed in the first half. The Pioneers opened up an eight-point lead before Thomas More went on a run to tie the game at 16 at the 11:16 mark. But ASC slowly opened the game back up with their largest lead being nine points with 1:51 left in the half and going into the break with a seven-point advantage.
The second half started with Alfred State extending their lead to as many as 10 points before Thomas More took its first lead of the game at 43-42 with 12:55 left. The rest of the game was back and forth with neither team having more than a four-point lead until Tahaij Lewis hit a pair of free throws with 50 seconds remaining to give ASC a 5-point lead. TMU responded with a field goal and, after a quick foul, ASC missed a pair of free throws with a thin three-point lead. Thomas More missed a three-point shot and a foul on the ensuing rebound put ASC's Tyrone Freeman on the line. He missed both free throws and the Saints rushed down the court and made a layup to pull within one point with 7.4 second remaining. ASC's Josh Reding was fouled on the inbounds pass and made both free throws. TMU had one last hope when fouled bringing the ball down the court and Damion King hit the first shot before intentionally missing the second without hitting the rim for a turnover. A foul put ASC's Juwan Tolliver on the line and he made both shots to insure the Pioneer win.
Ryan Gentile hit six of eight three-pointers and led Alfred State with 20 points. Tahaij Lewis had 14 points and a game-high 11 rebounds while Juwan Tolliver also scored 14 points and Dante Jordan scored 10 points. The Pioneers shot 45.1% (23-51) from the field and 38.1% (8-21) from behind the 3-point arc.