Chicopee, MA—Sage's men's basketball team traveled to Elms College on Saturday afternoon for their 2019-2020 opener. The Gators needed OT, but triumphed, 81-79 in overtime to stand at 1-0 on the young season. Elms drops to 0-1. Sage led 35-31 at the break, before the Blazers had a strong second half, outscoring Sage 37-33 and tying the game at 68-68 at the end of regulation.
Sage got a team-high 16 points from sophomore Stuart Phair (Canberra, Australia) as he shot 8-10 from the floor and hauled in five rebounds with a pair of blocks in the start, the first of his career. Sophomore guard Jalon Borders (Bartow, FL/All Hallows) picked up 14 points with five boards for the Gators. Senior Darius Denmark (Orlando, FL/Evans) added 15 points with three steals and three baskets from three-point range for Sage. Sophomore forward Jason Geronimo (Orlando, FL/Colonial) picked up eight rebounds with five points, while senior center Josh Gonzalez (Albany, NY/Canajoharie) added 10 points for the Gators.
Phair had 10 points in the first half as Sage 37.1% from the floor in the first half. The Gators then picked up the pace shooting 50.0% for the second half (13-26) and 62.5% in the overtime, making 5-of-8 baskets from the floor to seal the win.
Elms' rookie Ahmad Conner (Springfield, MA/Springfield Center) collected 24 points in his collegiate debut for the Blazers.
In the overtime period with 1:19 left to play, Elms led 77-76 after Conner hit a three-pointer. Senior Anthony Mitchell (Bronx, NY/Salesian) hit a layup to give Sage a 78-77 lead with 0:24 left to play. Borders collected a key defensive board with 0:19 left and was fouled. He went to the line with 13 seconds left and made both ends of his free throws to give Sage an 80-77 lead. Elms answered right back Tahquell Cadle hit a layup with 0:02 to cut Sage's lead by one before Demark hit the final shot of the game with 0:01 to give Sage the 81-79 win on the road.
Sage is back in action on November 12 hosting Purchase College at 7 p.m. in Kahl Gym in a non-conference contest.