OSWEGO, N.Y. – Sean Michelle drilled a 3-pointer from well behind the arc with no time remaining sending the Oswego State Lakers to a thrilling 58-55 victory over the Wells College Express in the final game of the 2011 Max Ziel Basketball Classic. The Express hit two clutch three's with less than two minutes left to tie the game at 55 but it would be Oswego who would prevail in the final seconds. With the loss the Express drop to 0-3 on the season while Oswego improves to 2-1.
Mabior Mayen (Syracuse, N.Y.) finished with a game high 17 points and six rebounds, earning him All-Tournament honors, while teammate Terry Harrison (Brooklyn, N.Y.) finished with 13 points and ten rebounds to lead the Express. Hayden Ward led the Lakers with 11 points and 11 rebounds while Chad Burridge chipped in with 11 points.
The meeting of the two teams marked a rematch from last year's thrilling first round NCAA tournament match-up in which Oswego came out on top. Tonight would be no different as the game had all the makings of a March tournament game.
Neither team was able to find the basket through the first three minutes of play but a lay-up by Mayen broke a scoreless tie and 3-pointers from Luke Thomas (Kernersville, N.C.) and Dave Foltz (Auburn, N.Y.) sparked Wells to an early 10-2 lead.
Down 13-4 mid-way through the first half the Lakers began to find their stroke, chipping away at the lead and finally tying the game at 18 with 5:58 to play. The two teams traded buckets from that point finishing the first half tied 27-27.
After Oswego tied the game six different times in the first half, the two teams would combine for just one tie in the second half. Burridge finished a lay-up to start the half and the Lakers held on to lead the entire half but never leading by more than nine points. The Express would climb to within three points four separate times but the Lakers always seemed to find an answer.
Trailing 54-45 with 4:27 left to play the Express began to pick things up on both ends of the ball. A lay-up by Mayen and jumper from the top of key by Mike Dicampli (Geneva, N.Y.) pulled the Express to within six (55-49). Playing a suffocating full-court press, the Express defense forced a turnover leading to a Foltz three to pull the Express to within three (55-52). On the ensuing play, the press again forced a turnover by the Lakers and this time Dicampli buried a three with 31-seconds remaining tying the game at 55-55.
Oswego immediately called a timeout knowing they had the final shot. On the inbounds the Express again frustrated the Lakers who were unable to run their set play, forced to improvise with time winding down -- the ball kicked out to Michelle, who had wondered out to the top of the arc nearly five feet off the three point line, and he delivered drilling a 3-pointer as time expired sending the Lakers to a 58-55 victory.
The Express held the advantage on the boards 37-30 while both team shot 40 percent from the floor. Fouls plagued starters for both teams in the first half but, each team settled down in the second understanding the importance of the game. Wells committed 14 turnovers to Oswego's nine and the Lakers held a 5-0 advantage in blocked shots.
The Express return to action on Saturday Nov. 26 when they travel to take part in the University of Rochester Holiday Inn Airport Tournament. The Express will take on U. of Rochester in game two at 8 p.m. in Rochester.