POTSDAM - Senior forward Rob Duquette (Peru, N.Y.) made a cut to the basket and scored on a driving layup with one second remaining to ice it as the SUNY Potsdam mens basketball team fended off pesky Algonquin College (Ottawa) 89-85 at Jerry Welsh Gymnasium in an exhibition game on Monday night.
Duquette, the Bears captain, shot 6-of-12 from the field to finish with a team-high 18 points and tied a team-high with 12 rebounds.
Algonquin, a member of the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA), had entered the game 3-0 as their regular season has already gone underway in Canada.
When these teams met in last seasons exhibition, the Bears rolled to a 71-51 victory. But the Thunder looked to be a much improved team, playing with a more up tempo pace.
Potsdam held a 47-43 advantage at halftime and pushed the lead to as many as 13 with 6:12 remaining in the second half, but the Thunder put on effective pressure defense to close it within 83-82 with just 53 seconds left in the game.
Junior guard Rishawd Hendricks (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and junior guard/forward Zac Adams (Potsdam, N.Y.) were able to knock down four clutch free throws in the closing minute to give Potsdam a little breathing room before Duquette put the game away on his layup.
The Bears were able to spread it around on offense with eight players scoring at least eight points. Freshman Josh Blagrove (Brooklyn, N.Y.) had an impressive debut by proving some instant offense. Blagrove shot 6-of-9 from the floor and scored 15 pointsincluding 13 points in the first halfin just 12 minutes of action. The 6-foot-6 forward also has six rebounds.
Adams had nine points, 12 rebounds and a block while Tom Graf (Elbridge, N.Y.) and Joe Estramonte (Greenwich, N.Y.) also closed with nine points apiece. Greg Torchon (Spring Valley, N.Y.) and Colin Peterson (Hilton, N.Y. ) each had eight points.
The play was physical throughout as the teams combined for 57 fouls with two players fouling out, five others racked up four personal fouls and another two players drew technical fouls.
Both teams make good at nearly an identical rate from the free throw line with Algonquin connecting on 29-of-45 and Potsdam sinking 29-of-42 from the charity stripe.
Potsdam held a plus 12 advantage in rebounds (54-42) and shot better than Algonquin College across the board including 8-of-17 from 3-point range.
The Bears will return the court on Nov. 15 when it hosts SUNY Canton at 8 p.m. in the North Country Classic.