Fisher claims tourney title from host team

Courtesy of athletics.SJFC.edu

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Sammy Robinson was named Most Outstanding Player and the St. John Fisher College men’s basketball team upended the host Marlins as the Cardinals won the Virginia Wesleyan Tip-Off Tournament on Saturday behind a 64-61 win inside the Jane P. Batten Center.  With the win, Fisher improved to 2-0 overall this season while Virginia Wesleyan slipped to 1-1.

After producing 15 points in Friday’s win, Robinson came back to score a game-high 18 points in Saturday’s victory.  The junior also chipped in with nine rebounds and a blocked shot.  Ryan Henderson, who was named to the All-Tournament Team, finished with 17 points on 5-of-7 shooting while James Leone added 12 points and seven boards in 26 minutes.  Sophomore Mark Valeriani contributed nine points and Matt Asenjo had six points, seven rebounds and a team-leading three steals.

Both teams had it going early as the first half featured seven lead changes before the Marlins closed out the opening half with nine of the period’s final 13 points to hold a three-point edge, 31-28, heading into intermission.

Coming out of the break, Henderson promptly erased the deficit after Asenjo found him on the wing for one of Fisher’s seven 3-pointers on the day to make it 31-31.  From there, the Cardinals would open up a three-point lead of their own after a layup by Leone, however, Virginia Wesleyan scratched out four quick points of its own to reclaim the momentum.

With the score knotted at 35, Fisher would take the lead with a Robinson free throw and quickly built a two-possession advantage with back-to-back 3-pointers from Asenjo and Valeriani.  The lead would remain firmly in the Cardinals’ favor for over 12 minutes in the second half until the Marlins orchestrated a 9-2 run fueled by six points at the charity stripe to take their first since the 15:38 mark of the second period, 59-57.

Trailing by two points, Leone tied the game with a pair of free throws before Asenjo blew past his defender and converted in the paint to give Fisher a slim edge.  Virginia Wesleyan would even things up with two freebies and just over a minute to go, but Robinson found Henderson on the low block for two points as Fisher took control down the stretch.

As a team, the Cardinals shot 22-for-54 (.407) from the field and converted 13-of-21 attempts from the free throw line.  Defensively, Fisher forced Virginia Wesleyan in to 16 turnovers including a charge late in the second period that changed the momentum of the game.

Head coach Mike Grosodonia II‘s team is back in action at 7 p.m. on Tuesday when it opens up an eight-game home stand beginning with Buffalo State inside Manning and Napier Varsity Gymnasium on Bobby Wanzer Court.

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