Morgan Golliver, Staff Writer
On Saturday afternoon, The Utica College men’s basketball team hosted the Houghton Highlanders.
Utica came into this Empire 8 match-up with a loss to St. John Fisher while Houghton defeated Elmira in its previous game.
In the first half, Utica struggled offensively as it only shot 35.3 percent compared to Houghton’s 48.4 percent and only made three out of 14 three-point shots. Despite the early struggles, the Pioneers only found themselves down by four at halftime with sophomore Bennito Ayarza leading the team with eight points, which included two three-pointers.
The Pioneers came out for the second half ready to play with big stops on defense which also helped build momentum on offense.
Junior Ivan Iton came up big on both sides of the court with a team-high of 14 rebounds as well as putting up an exciting dunk.
Turning things around in the second half, Utica improved its shooting to 48.8 percent compared to Houghton’s 25 percent, and held the Highlanders to only 17 points in the second half.
Utica went on to win its fourth game of the season and improve its Empire 8 record to 4-3, 4-12 overall, with a 14-point victory over Houghton 67-53.
Junior Carl Taylor lead the Pioneers with 17 points while sophomore Dylan Lambert lead the Highlanders with 15 points.
Looking ahead, The Pioneers will travel to Ithaca College to take on the Bombers on Thursday Evening.