OLD WESTBURY, N.Y. — Belmin Purisic came off the bench and helped lift the NYIT men's basketball team to victory. The 61-60 win over Caldwell in the home opener at Recreation Hall came with no shortage of drama.
With NYIT clinging to a two-point lead and in possession of the ball with 18 seconds remaining, Kieran Hamilton was fouled by Caldwell's Manley Dorme. However, the referees also called technical fouls of both players. And after reviewing video, the referees tacked on two additional flagrant fouls on NYIT.
The result: Purisic came off the bench for his only appearance of the game to replace Hamilton and converted two free throws to give NYIT a 61-57 lead.
Then, Zay Jennings shot four free throws at the other end with a chance to tie the score thanks to the extra flagrant fouls. He converted the first three, but missed the fourth and NYIT had a one-point lead.
Still, Caldwell had possession of the basketball as a result of the ruling with 18 seconds remaining and a chance to take the lead.
Then, Szu Yao Sun came up big, blocking a driving attempt with three second remaining to preserve the 61-60 lead. Tyler Ancrum ended up missing two free throws at the other end with two seconds to go, but Purisic collected the offensive rebound to close out the win.
"Through the whole game I was just cheering my teammates on," said Purisic, a freshman from St. Edmund Prepatory High School in Brooklyn. "And I just stayed ready, anytime, even the last 10 seconds, and got in the game and knocked them down."
NYIT improved to 2-1 on the young season.
The Bears return to the road for their next contest. NYIT will spend Thanksgiving weekend in Sioux Falls, S.D., opposing Wayne State on Nov. 25 and Northern State the following day.