Hartford, Conn. – Junior forward Shay Ajayi (Brooklyn, N.Y.) had 16 points and seven rebounds to lead the visiting Trinity College Bantams to a 74-48 win over the Ithaca College Bombers on the first day of the Cortaca Men’s Basketball Classic. Trinity improves to 2-1 and will play the SUNY Cortland Red Dragons in its second game of the two-site event tomorrow afternoon at 4 p.m., while Ithaca faces Farmingdale State in the other game tomorrow at Cortland State. The Red Dragons downed Farmingdale, 75-54, in the early game at Ithaca today.
Trinity scored the first 16 points of the game, as sophomore forward Ed Ogundeko (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and Ajayi combined for the first eight points, and led, 22-5, after an Ogundeko put-back with 8:17 left in the first half. The Bombers battled back and cut their deficit to single digits at 32-23 on a pair of free throws by Keefe Gitto with 1:17 remaining before the break but junior guard Andrew Hurd (Windsor, Conn.) fed senior forward Alex Conaway (New Haven, Conn.) for a jumper on one of Hurd’s nine assists to push the Trinity lead back to 34-23 at the break. The Bantams burst out of the gate again in the second frame, using a 12-0 run to double up Ithaca, 46-23, at the 16:51 mark on a three-pointer by junior guard Jaquann Starks (Hartford, Conn.), and maintained at least a 20-point cushion the rest of the way.
Trinity won despite missing 16 of 20 shots from behind the arc and nine of 21 free throws, using a 51-33 edge on the glass to score 19 second-chance points. Ithaca made 14 of its 15 tries from the foul line, but connected on only four of its 23 three-point attempts and shot 26.8 percent from the field overall (15-for-56). Ogundeko had 12 points and a game-high 11 boards, while Conaway scored 11 points off the bench, and Starks finished with 10 points and five rebounds. Gitto paced the Bombers with 15 points, seven rebounds, and a pair of blocked shots, while Marc Chasin added five assists.