COBLESKILL, N.Y. – Junior Chris Courtney (Auburn, N.Y.) scored a career-high 22 points on Sunday, helping the Wells College men's basketball team to a 62-56 victory over SUNY Cobleskill. Wells moves to 2-4 overall on the year, earning its first North Eastern Athletic Conference victory of the year (1-2). SUNY Cobleskill (1-9, 1-1 NEAC), the reigning NEAC champions in men's basketball, drew its ninth loss in 10 games.
Courtney was an impressive 8-for-9 from the floor, converting both of his field goal attempts from distance, en route to the 22-point performance. Freshman Rich Ross (Bronx, N.Y.) posted 15 points for the Express while junior James Feocco (Auburn, N.Y.) tallied 12 points and seven rebounds. Junior Darius Smith (Lanham, Md.) posted a career-best seven assists, adding a team-high three steals in the victory.
Wells opened the game with a commanding 12-0 run that was capped off with treys from Courtney and Ross. The Fighting Tigers, however, clawed back with three-straight three-point baskets to cut the Wells lead to 12-9 with 13:57 left in the first half. Stellar defense by the Express over the next seven-plus minutes held the hosts to only four points during that stretch, allowing the offense to build a game-high 13 point lead, 26-13, with 5:32 remaining in the opening half.
SUNY Cobleskill rallied to tie the game at 32 entering halftime, outscoring the Express by a 16-to-3 margin to tie the game at 29 with 2:34 left in the half. A three-point basket by Ross temporarily stopped the bleeding, but a Brian Jackson layup preceded a made free throw by Malik Chambers to send the teams to the locker rooms tied at 32.
Despite the up-and-down momentum swings for both teams, SUNY Cobleskill took its first lead of the game with 7:42 left in regulation time after Frank D'Esti followed up a Codi Gorman "three" with a made free throw to capture a 52-51 lead. Garrett Pitcher put the Fighting Tigers up by a game-high two point lead with 3:42 left, but Wells did not allow the hosts to score for the remainder of the contest.
The Wells defense held SUNY Cobleskill to an 0-for-6 mark from the floor down the stretch and clutch free throw shooting by Feocco, Courtney and Ross allowed Wells to earn its first NEAC win of the year. The trio did not miss a free throw in the final 3:42, burying six-straight from the charity stripe.
SUNY Cobleskill was led by Gorman's 10 points. D'Esti scored nine points while Chambers and Jackson poured home eight points apiece.
Wells returns to action Tuesday, Dec. 8 as the team welcomes its Cayuga Lake-rival Ithaca College to the Farenthold Athletic Wing at 7 p.m.