Baruch wins CUNYAC Tournament 

Edgar Llivisupa, Sports Editor

In an overtime thriller, the second ranked Baruch College Bearcats prevailed over the No. 1 Lehman College Lightning at City College’s Nat Holman Gymnasium, 7569, winning the 2022 CUNY Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Championship.

Emil Purisic was named MVP after shooting 9-10 from the field, scoring 23 points while getting a career-high 14 rebounds. He only missed one 3-point shot in the second half.

The game was close, with both teams trading the lead to start the first half. Following a layup from Lehman’s Marquese Johnson, the Lightning went on an 11-point run to extend their lead 27-25 with a little over a minute to end the half. Baruch closed the gap at the free throw line and entered halftime down 29-39.

The Bearcats wasted little time, tying the game in the first five minutes of the second half. Adnan Bajrami scored five straight points, three at the free throw line and a jumper that tied the game giving Baruch its first lead since the middle of the first half.

Lehman maintained its composure, regaining the lead and keeping Baruch at bay for the next several minutes. Even after a 3-pointer from Sean Donnellan with 3:18 remaining to tie the game again, 59-59, Lehman would extend its lead to four points with 1:27 left.

A quick 3-pointer from Baruch’s Jehmehl Fair cut the lead to one, followed by missed 3-point attempts by both teams.

A foul by Michael Richards brought Lehman’s Will Feldman to the line, who made only one of his two free throws to extend the lead to two.

Purisic would score a layup with nine seconds remaining to tie the game. The final extended to overtime after a missed 3-pointer by Batista.

In the second half, the Lightning struggled behind the arch, going 1-11. In the first, they made 6 of their 13 3-pointers.

Baruch struck first in overtime with consecutive baskets from Purisic and Bajrami. Lehman remained in contention up until an Isiah Geathers turnover with over a minute remaining, which led to another Baruch basket.

Successful free throws from Donnellan and Fair put Baruch up by six with five seconds remaining, securing the Bearcat’s fourth championship, the first since 2018.

Lehman’s Gian Batista, the 2022 CUNYAC Player of the Year, had a triple-double with 16 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. The Lightning’s Will Feldman was their highest scorer with 17 points.

The CUNYAC title also gives Baruch an automatic berth for the NCAA DIII Tournament. It will face the Christopher Newport University Captains (24-2, 6-0 C22), champions of the Coastto-Coast Athletic Conference Tournament, on March 4 in the round of 64.

Both Donnellan and Bajrami were selected to the Men’s Basketball Champions All-Tournament Team.