Fisher continues strong conference start with latest win

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UTICA, N.Y. – Sammy Robinson and Dennis Hare combined to score 50 points on Friday night as the St. John Fisher College men’s basketball team improved to 3-0 in the Empire 8 after dispatching Utica College, 90-80, inside Clark Gymnasium.  With the win, Fisher, which has now come out on top in four of its last five games, climbed to 8-6 while the Pioneers closed out the night at 12-3, 3-1, respectively.

Robinson finished the game with a season-high 28 points as the senior was 7-for-14 from the floor and 9-of-10 from the free throw line.  Robinson added eight rebounds and had two assists overall.  Hare contributed 22 points in 36 minutes with five boards and three dimes while James Leone chipped in with 13 points and two steals.  Sean Williams netted 10 points in the win and was credited with a game-high five assists.

It was all Robinson in the early going as the forward ripped off eight unanswered points to stake Fisher to a 10-2 edge.  From there, the momentum continued to swing in Fisher’s favor as Robinson continued to scorch the pioneers with two more 3-pointers as part of a larger 12-2 burst that made it a 15-point affair, 24-9.

As the first half wore on, the Cardinals’ lead would grow to as many as 16 before the Pioneers orchestrated a 13-3 run of their own to pull to within six points with just over seven minutes to go in the period.

With the tides shifting, Utica’s offense continued to knock down shots down the stretch as the Pioneers remained within striking distance before connecting on a 3-pointer on their final possession of the half to knot things up at 42-42 heading into the halftime break.

As the second half got underway, Fisher looked to push the pace as a bucket from Leone sparked a 16-0 run over the opening 4:21 of the stanza to make it 58-42 in the Cardinals’ corner.

Facing a double-digit deficit, Utica continued to work its offense and took advantage of a cold spell from the Cardinals to pull to within two points with 7:34 left to go in the game.  With the Cardinals’ ahead, 68-66, the Pioneers would knock down a 3-pointer to take their first lead since the 19:17 mark of the first half.  The advantage would be short-lived, however, as head coach Mike Grosodonia II‘s squad settled in and strung together seven unanswered points to make it a four-point edge, 77-73.  From there, Fisher never looked back as the Cardinals went 10-for-14 at the charity stripe over the final two minutes to earn the double-digit win.

As a team, Fisher was 29-for-60 (.483) from the floor in the win and connected on 25-of-32 attempts from the free throw line.  The visitors spread the wealth with 20 assists on 29 made baskets and forced the home team in to 12 turnovers.

The Cardinals will look to make it four wins in a row at 1 p.m. on Saturday when they take on The Sage Colleges in Troy in another Empire 8 bout.

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