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Thursday, November 27, 2014
SSHS grad becomes Cortland's top scorer
Jesse Winter breaks SUNY school's career mark for points
Darl Zehr Photography
Jesse Winter

Rockville Centre resident Jesse Winter became the career scoring leader of the SUNY Cortland men’s basketball program when he put up 13 points in a home game against Oneonta on Feb. 5.

Winter, 22, a 5-foot-11-inch senior, is a four-year starting point guard for the Red Dragons. He said that his accumulated time on the court helped him set a scoring record of 1,421 points — which he increased by 16 points in Cortland’s 78-46 win against Oswego last Friday.

“I’ve definitely come a long way,” Winter said. “I was hoping I would start as a freshman, but I wasn’t expecting I’d be playing as many minutes as I was right away. It wasn’t until last year that I really thought maybe I’d have a chance to break this record.”

The previous mark, held by Jason Thomas, who played from 1992 to 1995, was 1,419 points.

This season is one of the best the Cortland team has had since Winter joined it, he said. The team is ranked 24th in the nation in the NCAA’s Division III, and it has won 11 straight games to improve its overall record to 18-3. According to Winter, he and his teammates are hoping not only to win the SUNY Athletic Conference title but also to do well in the NCAA tournament.

His pursuit of the scoring record was almost becoming a distraction from his main goal of helping the team win, Winter said. “You want to get it over with so the focus can get back on the team,” he said. “Everyone is talking to you about it before it happens. You don’t want to admit you’re thinking about the record, but when you have people coming up to you … I was just glad to get it.”

Facing Buffalo State College on Feb. 2, Winter needed only 17 points to break the record. Since he averages 17 points a game, he thought the mark might fall that day, but instead he scored a season-low 5 points in Cortland’s 88-72 win. The timing worked out in the end, however, he said, because he was able to break the record in a home game three days later.

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