CORTLAND, N.Y. – Sophomore Lamard Herron led SUNY Cortland with a career-high 20 points and also shared the team lead with seven rebounds as the Red Dragons defeated Elms 85-59 in the opening round of the NCAA tournament.
Cortland (24-4) tied a school record for single-season victories originally set in 2005-06 and 1999-2000 (24-5 each season).
Herron made 8 of 10 shots from the field, including 2 of 3 from beyond the arc, in 27 minutes off the bench. Senior Jesse Winter finished with 19 points, five assists and three steals and senior Jeremy Smith scored 15 points, grabbed five rebounds and dished out three assists. Junior Kevin McMahon added 11 points and seven rebounds.
Both Winter and Smith were 3 of 6 from 3-point range. Cortland, making its first NCAA appearance since 2006, shot 12 of 27 (44 percent) from beyond the arc and 26 of 52 (50 percent) overall. The Red Dragons also made 21 of 25 free throws (84 percent).
Sophomore Kenneth Lockett and senior Andre French led Elms (18-10) with 16 points each. Lockett made 7 of 11 shots from the floor. French made 3 of 9 from long range. Senior David McDaniel added 13 points and a team-high eight rebounds. The Blazers were playing in the NCAA tournament for their seventh time.
Cortland trailed only once at 7-5 after two McDaniel free throws with 17:04 left in the first half. The Red Dragons led by as many as 11 points in the first half, but Elms closed to within four with 3:44 left in the half and trailed by only five at halftime.
Cortland quickly pushed its lead to 10 on two McMahon free throws and a Winter 3-pointer in the first two minutes of the second half. The Blazers answered with a Piere Simpson layup and a Lockett jumper to cut the margin to six, but Cortland utilized two Harrison Hefele 3-pointers and four points by McMahon during a 13-4 run to hold a 56-41 lead with 13:06 left.
The lead grew to 20 points with 10:41 left and never dipped below that mark the remainder of the game.