After earning a first-round bye in the Region III Division II Men’s Basketball tournament, the second-seeded Cougars traveled to Erie Community College on Saturday afternoon to take on a hot Mercyhurst North East team that upset Niagara County Community College on Tuesday night to advance to Saturday’s semi-finals.
Genesee jumped out to an early lead after a Kenton Chan-Man (Brooklyn, NY) three-pointer and two Kevin Nascimento (New York, NY) free-throws gave the Cougars a 7-2 advantage about four minutes in. Mercyhurst then made a 10-2 run to take the lead, but no team held a lead larger than five points during the first half. In total, there were nine lead changes in the opening twenty minutes, and the Saints held a 39-38 advantage at the break.
Mercyhurst took control of the game at the start of the second half. The Saints scored the first five points of the second twenty minutes before Deylon Bovell (Brooklyn, NY) hit his second three-pointer of the afternoon to draw GCC back within three. With a 44-41 lead, Mercyhurst then scored 16 of the next 20 points and opened up a 15 point, 60-45 lead with 14 minutes to play. The Saints held their largest lead at 16 when they led 66-50 with just over 12 minutes to go. Genesee made a push and cut the lead to single digits at 82-73 with four minutes to play, but the Saints capitalized at the free-throw line and held off the higher seed, winning 99-82.
Genesee shot just 34 percent on the afternoon and were only 4 of 25 from three-point range.
Bovell led the Cougars with 25 points and also grabbed eight rebounds. Tyshawn Ferguson (Chicago, IL) netted 19 points and grabbed nine boards, Chan-Man added 14 points and Nascimento chipped in with 11 points.
Genesee ends the season with an 18-12 overall record and a 10-5 conference record. Mercyhurst North East will move on to face Erie Community College in the Region III championship on Sunday afternoon at 1pm.