BROCKPORT — Losses don’t get any tougher than this one.
Brandon Caruthers sank the first of two technical foul shots with two seconds left in regulation Saturday to give The College at Brockport a 57-56 victory over Plattsburgh State in the SUNY Athletic Conference Tournament championship game.
The Golden Eagles (24-3), who rallied from a 19-point deficit early in the second half, get an automatic berth into the NCAA Division III Tournament.
The Cardinals (22-5), meanwhile, will hope to make it into the tournament with an at-large berth.
“This is one of the toughest losses I’ve ever had — maybe the toughest,” Plattsburgh coach Tom Curle said. “It’s very disappointing. We put ourselves in a position to win, but sometimes it’s not meant to be.
“Our athletes played as hard as they could and worked as hard as they could. You can’t beat yourself up over it. We’ve had a great season and it’s not over. Redemption will be sweeter than today’s disappointment.”
Everything was looking great for the Cardinals when they took a 37-21 lead into the half and scored the first three points in the second half for a 40-21 advantage.
Brockport, however, began to chip away and eventually came all the way back to tie it, at 52-all.
Plattsburgh righted the ship to regain a 56-52 advantage, but Matt Lee hit a layup with 45 seconds left in regulation to bring the Golden Eagles to within two.
Ten seconds later, Lee stole the ball and went in alone for a layup to tie the contest with 35 seconds left.
“We weren’t able to score in the final nine minutes, other than the four points that gave us the lead back with less than a minute to go,” Curle said. “Brockport presses the whole game and they wore us down.”