The men in Rochester blue and Dandelion Yellow struck down all of the foes that stood in their way this past weekend at the UR/Holiday Inn Airport Invitational.

In the first round of the tournament, UR faced the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford — the ’Jackets proved their talent and determination in a feat of total domination.

The men’s offensive onslaught was overwhelming, resulting in a final score of 83-67. In fact, the Yellowjackets shot so well that they set a school record and scored a 73 field goal percentage for the entire game.

In the championship game, the Yellowjackets competed against the Wittenberg University Tigers in a battle to the finish. Over the first half of the game, both teams were neck and neck —at halftime the score was tied at 30-30.

The rest of the game followed suit — the score bounced back and forth the entire second half. With only seven minutes left in play, the Tigers led 47-54.

However, the men courageously battled back from the defecit and brought the victory within their grasps. Juniors guard Chris Dende and forward Nathan Novosel took back the score with a 3-pointer and two medium range jump shots respectively.

Then with 35 seconds left in the game, sophomore guard Dan Shapiro sunk a 3-pointer, and his only basket of the game, to clinch the win. The win brought the Yellowjackets record to 4-1 overall. Novosel was proud of the team’s resolve and defensive prowess as well.

“This tournament was a great test for us,” he said. “We proved to ourselves and others that we were capable of winning some really tough, close contests. We made some really big stops defensively toward the end of regulation that put us into position to win the championship.”

Sophomore center Rob Reid led the ’Jackets with 15 points and nine rebounds while Novosel and Dende scored 14 each. The tournament MVP went to Dende, for scoring 34 points, making five assists and having two steals over the two games.

The tournament gave the men the self confidence to move forward in the season. Despite having two of their more valuable players out due to injury, sophomore guard John DiBartolomeo and freshman guard/forward Nate Vernon, the men performed more than admirably while also giving the rest of the team some valuable experience.

Dende is particularly confident in the team’s prospects for the future of the team. “I thought we played pretty well and showed a lot of maturity in beating some good teams, not being at full strength,” he said. “On the whole I think it will give us confidence not only going into the Wendy’s [Classic] this week, but also as we approach UAA play.”

Penney is a member of the class of 2012.

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