MORRISVILLE, N.Y. – The Morrisville State College men's basketball team opened the 2016 season with a 71-67 cross town win over Utica College Tuesday night, fueled by a 31 point game from freshman Kevin Dennis (Bronx, N.Y.).
Dennis added 13 rebounds to collect the double-double, nine on the offensive glass, while hitting 13-of-18 shots from the inside.
Transfer Kyle Peck (Oneida, N.Y.) added 10 points in his first outing as a Mustang, dishing out four assists, while teammate Michael Turner (Clyde, N.Y.) contributed an eight point, nine rebound effort in his first collegiate game.
Utica, who maintained the lead throughout most of the first half, edged out to an 11 point advantage with less than three minutes to go in the period, but the Mustangs went on an 8-4 run to close out the opening 20, making it a 40-34 ball game in favor of the visitors.
Morrisville State chipped away at the Pioneer lead to start the second half, and tied the contest for a fifth time with just under 15 minutes remaining at 46, before a layup on the fast break by Trent Ward (Auburn, N.Y.) gave the Mustangs a two point lead, one of which was not relinquished for the remainder of the contest.
The Mustangs increased their lead to as many as 13 behind an 18-7 run, and maintained the double digit advantage with just under two minutes to go before Utica made a last minute comeback attempt.
A three by Agim Hamiti made it a six point ball game with 52 seconds to go in favor of the hosts, and following a layup by Ivan Iton and follow up free throw by Tyler Jollie, the Pioneers cut it to three with seconds remaining on the clock.
Steve Dolgos (Geneva, N.Y.) secured the win for the hosts from the free throw line, hitting the first of two shots, making it a two possession ball game with just two seconds on the clock.
Morrisville State shot 45.3 percent from the floor on the night, and out rebounded the visitors 48-32. The Mustangs also dominated the offensive glass, 20-14, in the win.
The Mustangs return to the court Saturday, playing Valley Forge in the opening round of the Nazareth College Tip-off Tournament. Game time is scheduled for a 5:30 p.m. tip. In Rochester.
Morrisville State College's curricula are enriched with applied learning and pave the way for opportunity at both the Morrisville and Norwich campuses. An action-oriented, interactive learning lab, the college is a national leader in technology and has been lauded for its exemplary, innovative and effective community service programs.
The college was ranked among the Best Regional Colleges in the North by U.S. News and World Report Best Colleges 2016 issue and was also recognized in the Top Public Schools, Regional Colleges North in the 2016 Best Colleges rankings. For more information about Morrisville State College, visit www.morrisville.edu.