BINGHAMTON – In head coach Mark Abbott’s estimation, Norwich scored high for intensity, effort, and desire to win. The only thing missing on the scorecard was a few less points than Vestal.
The Golden Bears won their first STAC title in 37 years in 2005, but it only needed a four-year gap to grab its next one defeating the Tornado Saturday night at the Binghamton University Event Center, 54-47.
Norwich had plenty of energy during a fourth-quarter surge in which it pared Vestal’s 11-point lead down to three late in the game. Three good looks at tying three-pointers were a hair on the long side. Vestal’s Mike Patterson and Jeremy Baltz put the game away at the foul line combining on 4-for-4 charity tossing.
“Those were good looks that were right on,” Abbott said. “You don’t change anything in that situation. They hit a couple of tough ones and we missed, that was pretty much it. Teams make plays or they don’t make plays. That’s basketball.”
One component to the Vestal arsenal that was absent in Norwich’s one-point victory over the Bears in December was Baltz. He put 13 points on the board, while Patterson was much better in the second meeting over the first hitting for a game-high 15 points. Patterson made the last three looks he had at three-pointers, and he deftly drained those with the aplomb of Larry Bird, and with a similar flick of the wrist from long range as the one-time Celtics legend.