What could have been a big win at Hunter College on Friday night turned out to be one hell of a heartbreaker for the CCNY Men’s basketball team as the Beavers blow a 10-point lead in the final four and a half minutes, falling to the Hawks 72-68. It marks their fourth loss in a row since defeating The College of New Jersey back on Jan. 20.
CCNY led 67-57 with 4:30 left in the game following Saleh Nasser’s second three-pointer of the game when Hunter went on an 11-0 run, taking a 68-67 lead with 1:31 left off Ibraj Taulant’s three-pointer. After CCNY’s Jordan Ortega’s free throw tied it at 68 with 24.7 seconds left in the game, Frankie Drayton cut through the middle of the Beaver defense to drop in the game-winning layup with 3.8 seconds left to put Hunter up 70-68. CCNY lost the ball on the following inbounds to seal the loss.
“I thought we played very hard,” said Beavers head coach Tom Green, who saw his team play well only to collapse in the final four minutes. “I thought we played very well, we just had too many turnovers and missed too many free throws. That’s the difference in the game right there.”
The referees seemed to miss a key timeout by CCNY with 1:49 left in the game following the Beavers grabbing a loose ball and trying to keep possession. Hunter gained possession and took the lead on the three by Taulant.
“He said he was watching the court and wasn’t watching me,” Green said on the apparent missed timeout call. “He was 12-to-15 feet away from me. Everyone was trying to call time out. I have a hard time understanding why he would not know we were calling timeout, why he wouldn’t give me a quick look.”
Despite the solid, aggressive play on both sides of the ball, CCNY allowed Hunter to go on a 15-1 run to end the game in the final 4:30.
The Beavers’ shooting woes from the line continued as they shot just 9-for-21 from the stripe, along with going just 5-for-10 from three-point land and shooting just 45.8 percent from the court overall.
“We’ve had these dry spells and it’s a shame that it’s we’ve played for well for 35, 36 minutes. It’s just tough,” Green said.
Although Hunter had a worse shooting performance from the court overall (28-65), they took advantage of their free throws, dropping 13 of the 14 free throw chances they had.
They also received a big contribution from Drayton, who scored a game high 26 points, along with grabbing five rebounds and tallying four assists.
“He’s a guy we were keying on for sure,” Green mentioned.
Anthony Lewis led the Beavers in scoring again, scoring 19 on the night, along with eight rebounds and two assists. CCNY also received a big contribution from Nasser off the bench, as he hit a pair of threes in his first significant 15 minutes of the season.
“The thought process was to give Anthony some rest,” Green said on putting in Nasser in the first half. “Let’s find somebody who can spell him for a bit. He played well, he hustled and scrapped. We may have found someone who can help us down the road.”
The Beavers (5-12, 3-8), losers of five of their last six games since starting the calendar year 3-4, will host York on Monday night at 7 p.m. CCNY lost at York 94-72 back on Jan. 7th in Jamaica. The 94 points scored by York that night is the second most CCNY has allowed all season. CCNY allowed 99 points back on Jan. 13 in a loss to NJIT.