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M. BBall eyes SUNYAC title after 2nd place finish in ranking

by Panagiotis Argitis
Tue, Feb 20th 2018 09:00 pm

The College at Brockport men’s basketball team concluded its regular season last weekend, and with the SUNYAC tournament in session from Tuesday, Feb. 20 to Saturday, Feb. 24, the team will need to utilize its energy level and dominance on both sides of the floor. It will require the same energy that sent it to a second place finish in the conference standing to get a chance to travel to Salem, Virginia, for the NCAA Division III championship. 

The Golden Eagles end the regular season with a 19—6 record across all competitions, and finish with an outstanding conference record tally of 14—4. Along with that, Brockport has had one of the best scoring and defensive season’s out of the entire league, which has largely contributed to the team’s immense winning record. 

With a season average of 47.7 percent from the field, eight steals and 5.1 blocks per game, Brockport’s efficiency on both sides of the court ranks in the top-three margin from the entire competition. Despite the team’s elite numbers in efficiency and performance this season, the upcoming SUNYAC tournament creates a bigger challenge for Brockport, the ability to a play a full 50 minute game with a constant high level of energy and competitiveness. 

“We have come up short (semi-finals) in the last two years while also being the ‘last few’ out of the NCAA Tournament,” assistant coach Joseph Clarke said. “This year’s group gets constant reminders of what it felt like coming up short and that has really motivated our practices over the last weeks. Those constant reminders are vital in the mindset we will need to carry in every game of the SUNYAC tournament.” 

With the second biggest championship (SUNYAC) around the corner and the pinnacle of Division III basketball (NCAA Tournament) in sight, the Golden Eagles have proven that they have what it takes to make it far in both competitions from their performances across the duration of this year’s campaign, and they did just that this past weekend against Oswego and Cortland. 

“It’s never easy going into Oswego/Cortland when trying to close out the year. This weekend, we have watched a ton of film and plan to make some minor adjustments,” Clarke said. “The focus has been on us; what adjustments we needed to make in order to be successful. If we can defend the arc and keep people in front, I feel good about the weekend.”

Brockport’s matchup against Oswego was held on Friday, Feb. 16, and it was nothing short of thrilling. The Oswego Lakers have hit highs and lows all season, and they came out ready to take a win on their home court, but the Golden Eagles had other ideas. Brockport was hot off the bat, claiming an early lead of five to nothing over Oswego, but the Lakers came back fighting and cut Brockport’s lead to just one with 12 minutes of play. Sophomore power forward Justin Summers continued his stellar offensive showing this season with eight points in the first half, and propelled Brockport to a 34 to 23 lead at the end of the first period. 

Oswego was quick to respond during the second half, and after five three pointers, the team cut the lead down to two points with seven minutes left in the contest. But while cutting Brockport’s lead, Oswego got into foul trouble and Brockport didn’t take long to take advantage, allowing its offensive prowess to flourish, closing out the game with a victory of 69 to 67 in the process. 

On top of beating Oswego in a very important conference matchup, Brockport also took revenge for the heartbreaking loss of 85 to 84 it suffered three weeks ago against Cortland. The Golden Eagles beat the Red Dragons by 66 to 53 to assure their dominance in the power standings and to give Cortland its first loss in four games, taking them down to conference record of 13—5. 

Brockport has been the second most powerful force throughout the season, with only Plattsburgh ahead of the team by three conference wins. The SUNYAC tournament matchup for Brockport has yet to be decided as of Saturday, Feb. 17, but the team will be sure to bring its all in order to bring home its first SUNYAC title since the 2013-2014 season.

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