NAPLES, Fla. – A banked three-pointer with 10 seconds later by Luther proved to be the difference as Suffolk men's basketball fell to the Norse, 80-78, Saturday afternoon at the Community School of Naples to open action at the Naples Shootout.
SCORE: Suffolk 78 | Luther 80
RECORDS: Suffolk (5-5) | Luther (5-4)
HOW IT HAPPENED
Suffolk held an early 10-7 lead before things got interesting as Luther stormed back to go up 13-10. Jim Djema leveled the playing field at 13-all with a triple. The contest would not stay tied for long as the Norse put together eight unanswered points to put a 21-13 margin between themselves and the Rams with 11:10 to play in the first frame.
Back-and-forth action ensued and Suffolk remained in 12-point hole with less than eight minutes to go before half time.
A trey by Thomas Duffy got the Rams' comeback going as the blue-and-gold went on a 6-3 run to pull within six, 31-25. Luther rebuilt a 10-point cushion, 37-27, however with back-to-back buckets and one freebie. Over the final 2:27, Suffolk outscored the Norse, 8-2, to trim the margin to four, 39-35. The Rams late spurt included a pair of Michael Hagopian downtown hoops.
See-saw action was present throughout the opening of the second stanza. Suffolk made its move with six unanswered points capped off by an elbow jumper from Alex Jacovides at the 16:16 minute mark, which equalized the game at 46-all.
From there the lead switched three times and landed in Suffolk's favor, 50-49, on a layup from Steven DiPrizio less than five minutes into second half action.
After the score locked at 54-54, Suffolk built a 59-54 cushion behind a Javocides' trey and two free throws from Hagopian.
The Norse continued to make noise down the stretch and hung with the Rams the rest of the way.
Suffolk held its largest lead of the afternoon at six points when DiPrizio put away a foul shot with 3:59 on the clock.
Luther's comeback started as Spencer Sturges responded with a free throw of his own and Rahul Bagga connected for a set of freebies on the Norse's next possession to cut the Rams' edge to three, 75-52, with 2:43 left in regulation.
A jumper by Duffy put a two-possession distance between Suffolk and Luther with 2:24 on the clock. The score stood there for the next 1:33 before Luther strung two consecutive hoops together in a 20 second span to make it a one-point contest.
With less than 30 seconds to go, the Norse gambled with the foul game and sent Duffy to the line. The junior went 1-for-2 to keep a two-point lead for the Rams.
The two points would not be enough though. After a jumbled jump ball that played in Luther's favor, James Kappus banked a three point to turn the tides in the Norse's favor with 10 seconds to play.
Suffolk called a timeout, drew up a play, but could not get a shot off and had to take its chance by sending Jadyn Torres to the line. Torres went made the first, missed the second and Jeff Juron used his final timeout to draw up a hail mary situation with 1.5 seconds left.
The throw in was just off the mark and Jaydn Torres picked up the pieces for the Norse to seal the victory for Luther.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- Jacovides had a day with 22 points on a 9-for-14 performance from the floor and 4-for-8 showing from behind-the-arc. Defensively the sophomore pulled down seven boards.
- Duffy provided a full stat line of 15 points, seven handouts, five boards, one block and one steal.
- DiPrizio and George Grillakis each tallied 13 points. The former recorded eight boards and a pair of blocks, while the latter registered five boards, four assists and two steals.
- Suffolk shot 46.2 percent from the field (30-65), 36.0 percent (9-25) from three-point land and just 47.4 percent from the charity stripe.
- Luther owned the battle on the glass, outrebounding Suffolk, 42-39.
- Suffolk and Luther met for the first time.
- Jacovides had a career outing with personal-bests in points (22), field goals made (9), and rebounds (7).
- Jacovides made his first collegiate start.
Suffolk concludes action at the Naples Shootout tomorrow, Sunday, Dec. 30 when it tips off against Wells at 7 p.m.