The Genesee Community College men's basketball team downed conference rival Niagara County Community College 82-77 in their opening contest of the season at the Erie Community College Tip-Off Tournament on Saturday afternoon.
Genesee used a late surge to take a 20 point lead late in the first half, before taking a 43-28 lead into halftime.
The Thunderwolves got off to a fast start in the second half and cut the GCC lead to single-digits before Terryl Coombs scored nine straight points for the Cougars to extend their lead back to 15.
Niagara CCC hung around and closed the gap to within two at 79-77 with about two minutes remaining, but GCC was able to convert three out of four at the freethrow line and came away with defensive stops to hold off the Thunderwolves.
Vaughn Boler and E.J. Blackwell each scored a game-high 18 points for GCC. Boler also added six rebounds and Blackwell chipped in five assists. Coombs ended the game with 14 points, all of which came in the second half. Malik Brown was also in double-digits for GCC, scoring 13 points, Carlton Wright scored nine points and Maurice Bailey added seven points.
Genesee will play in the tournament championship game tomorrow afternoon at 2pm against Delaware Tech Community College, which defeated Erie Community College 78-76 on a buzzer-beater on Saturday.