CANANDAIGUA -- Nic Ceser had 21 points for the Lakers, but it was not enough as they would fall to Niagara County Community College on Tuesday by the score of 68-64. Finger Lakes now stands at 1-1 on the young season.
Finger Lakes got the opened the home portion of their schedule fast with a pair of three pointers by Dylan Verkey and Nic Cesar. A transition layup by Will Arberry would push the lead to 11-3 in the first five minutes and led to a Thunerwolves timeout.
Niagara would fight back to tie the game at 15 halfway through the half. The score would bounce back and forth for the rest of the half with no team pulling away. Ray Wiggins had all seven of his points during this portion of the half, going 3-4 from the field. Niagara would slip ahead late and carry a 33-31 lead into the break.
Both teams came out shooting in the first half, attempting a combined 70 field goals. The Lakers and Thunderwolves also agressive shooting from deep. Niagara was 4-13 from three and Finger Lakes was 4-18 on the half.
The Thunderwolves would trade baskets with the Lakers in efforts to widen the lead in the second half. Freshman Brandon Bullock would make back to back baskets for the Lakers to pull them back within one point with 13 minutes remaining in the half. Kaleem Edwards hit Verkey and Cesar for three pointers in back to back possessions for Finger Lakes to give them the lead 50-46 with 11:44 remaining. Edwards finished with a game-high and career-high tying seven assists.
Niagara continued to battle, using a combination of three point shooting and strong offensive rebounding. They outgained the Lakers 15-7 on the offensive glass. With four minutes remaining, Jordan Street would convert free throws to give the Thunderwolves a 61-60 lead. Finger Lakes answered right back when Brandon Bullock sank a driving layup while getting fouled. He made the free throw for the three point play and gave the Lakers a 63-61 lead with 3:24 remaining.
Gjaimeir Stanford would drain a three pointer with just over two minutes remaining to give Niagara the lead back. He finished with a game-high 24 points, going 6-11 from three point range. Niagara would hold off the Finger Lakes offense at the end and secure the game, 68-64.
Nic Cesar led the Lakers in scoring with 21 points. Bullock battled foul trouble and still scored 10 of his 16 points in the second half. The freshman from Texas also led the Lakers in rebounds with 8. Dylan Verkey hit double-digits for the first time in his young Laker career with 11 points, 9 of which came from beyond the arc.
Finger Lakes will return to action this weekend with a pair of regional games. They will host Columbia-Greene Community College on Saturday and face the nationally ranked Broncos of SUNY-Delhi on Sunday. Both games are scheduled to tip-off from Putt Moore Court at 3pm.