The Genesee Community College men's basketball team will play for the Division II Region III title on Sunday for the first time since the 2002-03 season. The third-seeded Cougars knocked off no. 2 Erie Community College on Saturday afternoon in the semifinals at Monroe Community College.
Genesee grabbed an early lead after Da'Shawn Suber scored four early points to put the Cougars in front 6-4 just three minutes in. GCC kept the lead the entire half with help from Ervin Mitchell, who scored 16 first half points.
Ahead 39-35 with 3:10 to play in the opening period, Naquil Jones extended the lead for Genesee by closing the half on a 7-2 run on his own, including the only 3-point basket of the first 20-minutes for GCC, to put the Cougars in front by nine at the break.
Genesee extended its lead to 11 early in the second half after Alastair Cole hit back-to-back threes to give GCC a 53-42 advantage.
Erie responded by going on an 8-0 run to cut the lead down to three before Suber ended the Genesee scoring drought with a layup to give the Cougars a 55-49 lead with 15:45 to play.
GCC kept its distance and with under four-minutes to go held an 83-75 lead after Jones delivered eight straight points for the Cougars.
The Kats hung around and fought back, using a 10-2 run in a two-minute span to tie the game at 85 apiece with 1:27 left.
Both teams would exchanged empty possessions and after a second straight missed opportunity from GCC, the Kats had a chance for the last look with possession of the ball with 12-seconds left.
After an Erie timeout, the Kats were able to inbound on their offensive end but GCC's Redell Freeman came up with a steal for the Cougars and hit a streaking Suber, who went the length of the floor and laid in the eventual game-winning basket with 6.3-seconds to play. Erie had a last-second opportunity but the Kats came up empty and Genesee survived, 87-85.
Jones led five GCC scorers in double-figures with 25 points. Mitchell finished with 20 points and seven rebounds, Jason Perry-Murray delivered his second straight double-double with 13 points and 11 boards, Cole ended the game with 12 points and Suber added 11 points and seven assists.
In the two previous meetings against ECC this year, GCC was a combined -30 in rebounding. Both teams collected 38 total rebounds apiece on Saturday.
The Cougars will take on top-seed Monroe Community College on Sunday at MCC. The Tribunes escaped their semifinal game against Mercyhurst North East, 77-75. Tip-off is scheduled for 1 p.m. and the game can be seen live online: http://bit.ly/1hAdPxt