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Men's basketball ends season as SUNYAC's third seed

by Paul Cifonelli - Staff Writer
Thu, Feb 21st 2019 03:00 pm
Senior guard Chris Atkinson (middle, holding picture) is accompanied by his teammates, coaches and the President of The College at Brockport during the senior day celebration before the Cortland match. Atkinson had only participated one year on the squad but became a part of the family as if it was his fourth year as a Golden Eagle. Brockport will be losing four seniors following the end of the season.
Senior guard Chris Atkinson (middle, holding picture) is accompanied by his teammates, coaches and the President of The College at Brockport during the senior day celebration before the Cortland match. Atkinson had only participated one year on the squad but became a part of the family as if it was his fourth year as a Golden Eagle. Brockport will be losing four seniors following the end of the season.
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On Friday night against Oswego, senior guard Josh Nelson used a nasty jab step to send his defender to the ground. The crowd went crazy and his teammates jumped around in disbelief. Nelson missed the shot. On Saturday, sophomore guard Devonte Hagins soared in for a put-back dunk off a missed shot. His teammates and the crowd went crazy yet again. That sums up the rocky weekend for The College at Brockport men’s basketball team.

The Golden Eagles’ week began on Tuesday, Feb. 12 against Geneseo. Having dropped a game to the Knights just three days earlier, Brockport came out and made sure the contest would end in its favor. Despite Geneseo’s six-point lead headed into halftime, Brockport seemed to be in control of the game. The game broke open in the second half and the Golden Eagles jumped to a 48-33 lead. The final score was 88-67, with freshman guard Danny Ashley, junior forward Justin Summers, sophomore guard Jahidi Wallace and Hagins all scoring between 15 and 18 points. The balanced attack was something that needed to be carried on against a stingy Oswego team.

Oswego came to Brockport as the first place team and had no intentions of leaving as anything but. The Lakers gave the Golden Eagles headaches from the opening tip. Oswego had a 16-point lead at halftime and continued to suffocate Brockport’s offensive attack in the second half. The Golden Eagles shot just 2-11 from three for the game. An 85-69 loss to Oswego made Saturday’s game against Cortland a must-win in order to get a home game in the playoffs.

Cortland came to Brockport having lost four of its last six games and was without its starting center, Zach Lydon. The Red Dragons got off to a hot start, but Brockport clawed its way back into the game. Once it got close, Brockport’s dunk show began. Summers and Hagins both had dunks in the game, with Summers’ coming in traffic and Hagins catching a lob from senior guard Chris Atkinson on the fast break to go along with his put-back dunk. At the end of the day, the Golden Eagles hammered Cortland by a score of 84-65.

While the game was big in terms of playoff positioning, it was also senior day. The seniors that were honored for Brockport were Ryan Ingarozza, Dwayne Daniel, Atkinson and Nelson. 

For Atkinson, who is in his first year playing for Brockport, senior night held a lot of meaning. He began his college career at Canisius College, a Division I school in Buffalo. Atkinson got rather emotional when his teammates accompanied him on the court during the ceremony.

“My mom couldn’t make it due to family trouble, but I love my mom to death,” Atkinson said. “I wish my mom was here but I brought my team out with me and that meant a lot.”

Nelson was focused on making sure the team was ready to play after the disappointing game against Oswego and noticed a difference between the two matches.

“I think it was just our energy,” Nelson said. “Our excitement going into the game was very high compared to last night and it was what we needed to bounce back and get a win over a good team.”

Now that the Golden Eagles took care of Cortland, they look ahead to the SUNYAC tournament. Brockport enters the tournament as the number three seed. Its overall record currently stands at 15—10 with a conference record of 11—7. Based on this year’s results, it seems as though the only way the Golden Eagles will return to the NCAA tournament would be to win the SUNYAC tournament. That will not be an easy task, as Brockport’s opening round game is against Potsdam, a team that Brockport split  two games with during the regular season.

The Golden Eagles took down the Bears 78-63 in Brockport, then lost 78-71 in Potsdam.

Should Brockport win, Plattsburgh will be the next matchup. The Cardinals are currently the 21st ranked team in the country despite being the second seed in the tournament. Brockport also split with Plattsburgh, with each team winning at their respective home courts.

Brockport kicks off the SUNYAC tournament on Tuesday, Feb. 19 at 7 p.m. at Jim and John Vlogianitis Gymnasium.