Release courtesy Albany Pharmacy Athletics Department
Senior guard Kyle Matousek (Jordan-Elbridge, NY / Jordan Elbridge HS) scored a game-high 18 points including the game-winning layup with 16 seconds to go in the Panthers' 76-72 win over HIVAC-foe SUNY-ESF on Wednesday, January 30th. After the win, the Panthers moved to 8-8 overall and 3-1 in the conference, which currently puts them on track to qualify for the 2019 HVIAC Men's Basketball Tournament.
This was a tight affair, with both teams trading blows in the first half before the Panthers went on a 6-0 run to close out the half and head to the locker room up 39-33. They would extend that lead all the way to 14 after a pair of made free throws by senior guard Thomas Chalker (Boundbrook, NJ / Metuchen HS) at the 15:47 mark of the 2nd half, their largest lead of the game. The next four minutes were all Mighty Oaks though, as they went on a 17-2 run to take their first lead of the half with just under 12 minutes to play. The Panthers missed seven of their eight shot attempts during that stretch, and their only free throw attempt.
ESF's lead only lasted 10 seconds, as a layup from Chalker again put ACPHS ahead 57-56, a lead they would not give up for the rest of the contest. The Panthers did have to earn this one down the stretch though, as the Mighty Oaks did fight back to tie the contest at 72 with 1:17 left on the clock. Both teams missed three-pointers on their next possessions to give Albany a chance to win it on their final possession. After a set-play broke down, Matousek showed off some individual brilliance to get the Panthers over the line. He used his quick first step and drove right to get past his initial defender, and when he got to the rim, he was able to finish his layup despite getting fouled. He made the ensuing free throw to put ACPHS up three and complete the old-fashioned three-point play. ESF's Henry Pflaumer was unable to connect on the game-tying three in the closing seconds, and the Panthers saw the game out from there.
For Albany, four players scored in double-figures, with Matousek leading the way with 18 points, three assists and four steals. Junior guard Naythan Beltran (Reading, PA / Antietam HS) was the team's second-leading scorer with 13 despite making just five of his 18 shot attempts, while Chalker and junior forward Edward Ahanmisi (Vancouver, BC / Bodwell High) each chipped in 11. Also of note was junior center Evan Georgio (Bayside, NY / Archbishop Molloy), who connected on two three-pointers early in the 2nd half to give the Panthers a lift out of the break. Those two threes were part of 13 made-threes all together for ACPHS, and compared to just seven for ESF, they may have been the difference in the game.
Albany has three more conference matchups before the end of the season, all away from home, as they look to cement their tournament position. The next one is on Thursday, February 7th when they will travel to Berkeley College at 7:00pm.