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Men's basketball sits in first place in SUNYAC

by Panagiotis Argitis - Staff Writer
Wed, Feb 5th 2020 05:00 pm
Junior Jahidi Wallace sizes up a defender from SUNY Potsdam on Friday, Jan. 31. Brockport won the game 77-74 to avenge its only conference loss of the season. Wallace is averaging 16.8 points per game in the five games senior All-American Justin Summers has missed.
Junior Jahidi Wallace sizes up a defender from SUNY Potsdam on Friday, Jan. 31. Brockport won the game 77-74 to avenge its only conference loss of the season. Wallace is averaging 16.8 points per game in the five games senior All-American Justin Summers has missed.

Following an unbeaten streak of six conference games, The College at Brockport men’s basketball extended its SUNYAC run with consecutive victories against SUNY Potsdam and Plattsburgh State this past weekend. With less than half the league schedule to go, Brockport sits at the top of SUNYAC standings without evidence of a drop in form.

With a handful of matches until the conference tournament tips off, Brockport remains undefeated on its home court in what has been the most successful start to a season since the 2017-18 season. The team is currently sporting an overall season record of 15—3 while only failing to win one of its 11 SUNYAC matchups thus far.

Despite losing its first conference game of the year to Potsdam, Brockport’s momentum only rose following the defeat as the team stood perfect since. With its intentions on solidifying its SUNYAC record before entering the tournament stages, Brockport exacted revenge on Potsdam to win its first of two games during this weekend’s doubleheader and climbed to the top of the conference standings.

Brockport faced Potsdam for the second meeting between the two sides this season on Friday, Jan. 31, at home for the Golden Eagles’ closest victory of the SUNYC schedule thus far.

Brockport’s offense led the way from the opening tip-off and paved the way for the remainder of the first half. A combination of the  team’s starters and bench players all contributed to a lead over Potsdam. At the end of the preliminary period, Brockport’s lead was cut by a buzzer-beater that saw the Golden Eagles enter halftime with a 37-32 advantage.

The beginning of the final period saw multiple lead exchanges between the two sides as both teams searched for a leading edge. At the closing stages of the game, offensive work from sophomore Jahidi Wallace put Brockport within one point of Potsdam. This was followed by a coast-to-coast run from senior guard Monte Stroman, who gave Brockport the advantage with less than a minute of play. After the Bears missed a potential game-tying three pointer at the buzzer, Brockport won 77-74 to take the conference lead away from Potsdam.

The Golden Eagles’ victory over Potsdam, the only conference side who has managed to beat them thus far, has marked the intentions of the program for the rest of the season. 

“We knew it was a big weekend; we came and executed,” fifth year guard Tyler Collins said. “The driving force is the motivation from falling short the last few years.”

The second game of the weekend’s doubleheader came in the shape of a 93-71 victory over Plattsburgh, closely identical to the team’s 94-72 win during the first meeting between the two earlier this year.

Similar to the rest of its offensive displays throughout the season, Brockport grabbed the lead early in the first half and never looked back. The start of the first half saw a commanding success behind the three-point line for Brockport, as the team got on a hot streak behind the arc to cruise past Plattsburgh for a 49-26 advantage at halftime.

While the opposing offense was able to string points together during the opening of the final period, Brockport’s gap over Plattsburgh continued to grow to as much as 29 points. With no sense of Plattsburgh escaping from its early deficit, Brockport remained in front for the rest of the game and left with its eighth straight victory.

Despite the amount of consecutive wins put together by the team, Brockport looks to hone in on the rest of the conference schedule as it will focus on consistency instead of the start of the SUNYAC Tournament.

“The work we have put in shows now that we have beaten the top teams,” Stroman said. “We are nowhere done, though, and have a lot more work to do in order to hold this #1 spot.”

Following the string of short-lived playoff appearances in the last few years, Brockport’s ambitions lay on building off the progress made this season, with hopes on making a statement in this year’s installment of the SUNYAC Tournament. The team is tasked with another doubleheader this weekend against SUNY Oneonta and SUNY New Paltz, on Friday, Feb. 7, and Saturday, Feb. 8, respectively, where it will hope to increase its gap in the conference standings.

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