For the second time already this season, the Tompkins Cortland men's basketball team went up against a team ranked among the top teams in the nation. Playing Tuesday at #4-ranked and defending national champion Herkimer College, the Panthers put forth a strong effort, throwing a scare into the home team before falling by final of 74-61. Tompkins Cortland is now 1-3 overall and 1-2 in regional play. Herkimer is 3-1 overall and in region.
The Panthers knew they would need to play at a high level to compete, and they stepped up, particularly in the first half. Tompkins Cortland had a five point lead in the closing minutes of the half before Herkimer ended the half on a little run, hitting a three-pointer in the final seconds to take a 36-35 lead into the break. The Generals held on to the lead in the second half, stretching it out just to double figures, but the Panthers never let go on a big run to pull away. Ultimately, foul troubles caught up with the Panthers and they weren't able to close the gap, but a determined team effort kept it close down to the wire.
Jaiden Allen (Marlboro/Marlboro H.S.) was the leading scorer for the Panthers with 20 points, followed by 11 from Marven Loussaint (Brooklyn/Erasmus H.S.). Devonte Henry (Brooklyn/Boys and Girls H.S.) had a team-best eight rebounds while battling foul trouble and Gabriel Blenman (Brooklyn/George Westinghouse H.S.) had team-highs of four assists and five steals.
The Panthers return home Saturday for a 4 p.m. game with Clinton Community College.