Baruch men’s basketball beats York, will face Lehman in final

Edgar Llivisupa, Sports Editor

The No. 2 Baruch College Bearcats advanced to the 2022 CUNY Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Championships after defeating York College Cardinals, 7760 at the Arc Arena.

The close game was reminiscent of their regular-season encounters until the second half when Baruch pulled away to secure a tournament matchup against the number one ranked team, Lehman College.

It was a rocky start in the first half, with both teams shooting under 30%. Major streaks were also in play when York scored eight-straight points early in the game, capitalizing on Baruch missing 3-pointers and free throws. However, the Bearcats responded with a 12-point streak to tie and take the lead.

The rest of the half remained a back-and-forth, ultimately concluding with Baruch in the lead. Baruch appeared to have the edge in the second half, widening the early lead.

Nevertheless, York persevered with only a 10 point gap between the teams. Midway into the second half, the home team found their footing. A pair of free throws by 2022 CUNYAC First-Team All-Star Adnan Bajrami put the team up by 17 points, the largest of the night.

The Bearcats’ offense excelled in the second half, shooting 50% from the field and 50% from the three-point line.

Adnan Bajrami scored the highest points of the night with 20 points, while the second team AllStar, Emil Purisic, led in rebounds with a total of x11.

Baruch will play Lehman (21-3, 12-2 CUNYAC) in the championship game at the Nat Holman Gymnasium at City College. It is the Bearcats’ fifth tournament final match since the 2014-2015 season and their third consecutive final. Baruch hopes to win its first title since 2018-2019 season.

Led by 2022 CUNYAC Coach of the Year, Steven Schulman, Lehman secured its first finals berth since the 2017-2018 season after beating the fourth ranked team, Hunter College Hawks, 12295

With 2022 CUNYAC Player of the Year, Gian Batista, the finals matchup will pit the best two teams from the conference. Baruch was undefeated, until February, and captured the best conference record until suffering three-consecutive losses towards the end of the season. Lehman capitalized to secure their first regular-season title since 2017-2018 and the tournament top seed.

The teams split their regular-season matchups, winning at home, in close contests that were decided by four points.