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Men's basketball clinches spot in SUNYAC Tournament

by Panagiotis Argitis - Staff Writer
Wed, Feb 12th 2020 10:00 am
Junior Malick Sylla dribbles the ball down the court while junior Jared Fish trails behind him on Saturday, Feb. 1, against Plattsburgh State.
Junior Malick Sylla dribbles the ball down the court while junior Jared Fish trails behind him on Saturday, Feb. 1, against Plattsburgh State.

With 18 wins under its belt and a nearly-perfect conference showing thus far, The College at Brockport men’s basketball team picked up its 11th straight SUNYAC victory of the campaign to clinch a spot in this year’s SUNYAC Tournament. 

Following two wins against SUNY Potsdam and Plattsburgh State to close out January and extend its undefeated home court streak, Brockport defeated SUNY Oneonta and SUNY New Paltz to remain at the top of the SUNYAC with the preliminary playoff stages in sight.

Brockport is currently the only side in the conference to only lose one game, with Potsdam trailing behind in second place in the standings. Despite leading its conference with four games to go before the postseason tip-off, Brockport’s attention rests with finishing the regular season on a high note.

“We have to remain focused and humble until we get the job done,” junior guard Malick Sylla said. “We cannot underestimate anybody, being that everyone is trying to knock us out of that first place.”

Brockport’s playoff berth came after its first of two victories this weekend away from home, in an 85-75 defeat of Oneonta on Friday, Feb. 7. The lead was exchanged between the two sides for the majority of the opening half. Despite securing a slight edge over Oneonta at the halfway point of the period, Brockport’s advantage was diminished to a single point at the break. 

Oneonta’s momentum helped it claim the lead at the start of the second half, but Brockport quickly took it back, as junior Tyree Grimsley led his team’s defensive efforts to dig his team out of the hole it made for itself. At the final buzzer, the game was decided by 10 points in favor of the Golden Eagles, who further separated themselves from the rest of the pack.

One day after taking down Oneonta, Brockport traveled to New Paltz, where it faced the weakest side in the conference. The Hawks sit at the bottom of the standings, with a sole victory over a SUNYAC opponent to their name.

As predicted, Brockport took over the game early in the first half, as the opposing offense struggled to keep up with Brockport’s near-perfect shooting display. Just after the opening 15 minutes of the game, Brockport built a 20-point lead, which the team would hold all the way into halftime.

While the second half saw New Paltz cut into the deficit, it was not able to break Brockport’s offensive momentum, as the Golden Eagles carried their advantage to a comfortable 81-59 victory. The lopsided result marked Brockport’s 11th consecutive win, sitting on a conference record of 13—1.

Brockport’s dominance in the conference has stayed consistent over the course of the season, a factor missing from the past campaigns. The team hopes to change its previous fortune and take its recent run of success to this year’s conference title.

“We [Head coach Greg Dunne and the team] are happy with the success, but are not satisfied yet,” sophomore guard Jahidi Wallace said. “We are here to accomplish the goal we established at the start of the season — to win the SUNYAC Tournament and make the NCCAs.”

The Golden Eagles are set to return to their home court on Saturday, Feb. 15, at 4 p.m. where they will be taking on SUNY Geneseo for this season’s senior game. Brockport will aim to protect its undefeated home court record and take another stride toward securing the #1 seed in the SUNYAC Tournament.

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Taken by Vincent Croce:
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