ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Freshman point guard Luis Cartagena Jr. joined the starting lineup for the first time in his collegiate career on Friday as the NYIT men's basketball coaching staff looked for a spark. And, sure enough, Cartagena produced a career-high 20 points, including a three-pointer with six minutes remaining in the game that gave NYIT its first lead of the second half.
However, the Bears ultimately dropped a hard-fought 91-81 game to Roberts Wesleyan at Voller Athletic Center.
NYIT committed five turnovers before tallying its first field goal of the game and quickly fell in an 8-0 hole. Yet the Bears continued to compete. They evened the score at 15 midway through the first half on a three-point play from Jeffrey Hayden. And after falling behind by double digits early in the second half, NYIT persevered and clawed within 69-68 on a three-pointer from Cartagena with 8:10 remaining in the game.
The Bears evened the score at 71 when Hayden hit the front end of one-and-one free throws with 6:31 to go. And they took their first lead of the second half, 74-73, when Cartagena hit a three-pointer 24 seconds later.
Cartagena eventually fouled out with the score tied at 81 and 3:36 remaining. Roberts Wesleyan answered with a decisive 10-0 run to close the game during which the usually sturdy Hayden missed four free throws and a dunk.
Cartagena's scoring outburst topped a 19-point game off the bench at Concordia on Nov. 19 for his career high.
Four NYIT players finished in double figures in scoring: Cartagena with 20 points, followed by Kieran Hamilton and Hayden with 18 apiece and Domonic Josephs with 15.