SUNYIT Senior Alex Grimmer Honored in Wildcats' Final Home Game
UTICA, N.Y. – The SUNYIT Men's Basketball Team tried valiantly to come up with a win on Senior Night, but the hot-shooting Wildcats of Cazenovia were too much for them in an 81-78 loss. Lone SUNYIT senior Alex Grimmer (New Hartford, N.Y. / New Hartford) had a stellar game despite the loss, registering 12 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists.
In his four-year career Grimmer was instrumental in the Wildcat Championship runs of 2008-9 and 2009-10. During the latter, Grimmer stepped off the bench to hit the game-tying jumper in the NEAC Semifinal versus Cobleskill, a game the Wildcats would ultimately win in overtime. The victory propelled that year's team to the NEAC title and a birth in the NCAA Tournament.
On Wednesday, however, Grimmer was in a giving mood. The senior captain doled out three assists in the first three-and-a-half minutes of the game, as SUNYIT jumped out to a 10-6 lead.
The home Wildcats would stretch their lead to its widest margin at 16-6 on a Derek Rowe (Mexico, N.Y. / Mexico Academy) layup with 14:48 left in the first half. Rowe finished the game with a double-double, scoring 10 points while grabbing 12 boards.
Trailing by ten, Cazenovia called a timeout. During the play stoppage the visiting Wildcats must've put all their effort into warming up senior Bryant Winans, because the 6-foot guard came off the bench absolutely boiling hot. Over the next seven minutes and change, Winans knocked down four 3-pointers, as Caz went on a 24-6 run.
Winans would hit another three with less than 15 seconds to go in the half, giving Cazenovia a 47-38 lead heading into the locker room.
SUNYIT was still trailing by nine, 71-62, when a Justin Brignola (Clifton Park, N.Y. / Shenendehowa) three-pointer sparked a 7-0 rally to pull the Wildcats to within two, 71-69, with just under four minutes to go in the game.
After trading baskets for a couple minutes, the Wildcats found themselves still down two, 80-78, with 12 seconds left to play. SUNYIT appeared to get a good look for sophomore Ryan James (Saratoga Springs, N.Y. / Saratoga Springs) from the top of the key, but out of nowhere Cazenovia forward Robert Rohrig materialized to block the shot and seal the victory for Cazenovia. Rohrig had a solid game for the visitors, scoring 13 points on 6 of 8 shooting, but the night belonged to Winans; the senior finished the game with 27 points on 8 of 12 from long-range.
Despite getting blocked at the end of the game, SUNYIT wouldn't have made it that far if not for James's 24-point performance to lead the Wildcats. The 5'11" guard was 10 of 15 from the field.
SUNYIT put all five starters in double-digits for the first time all season, shooting an even 50% for the game. Unfortunately the Wildcats didn't fair nearly as well with the freebies, shooting just 6 of 14 (42.9%) from the free throw line.
SUNYIT will head to division-leader Morrisville State for the team's final game of the season on Saturday. Game time is scheduled for 1:00 pm.