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Men's basketball wins two OT games, regular season title

by Panagiotis Argitis - Staff Writer
Wed, Feb 26th 2020 12:00 pm
Senior Justin Summers attempts a shot against SUNY Geneseo on Saturday, Feb. 15.
Senior Justin Summers attempts a shot against SUNY Geneseo on Saturday, Feb. 15.

At the end of the regular season, The College at Brockport men’s basketball team finished with an unmatched conference record of 17—1, which included a 15-game win streak, a perfect home-court record and the #1 seed in the conference. As the team nears the start of the postseason, it will hope to emulate its dominance to the SUNYAC championship.

Following yet another win against SUNY Geneseo at the midpoint of February, Brockport came up against SUNY Cortland and SUNY Oswego this past weekend in search of the #1 seed and a chance to host this year’s tournament. Despite enduring its closest victories thus far in the two games, Brockport prevailed and it heads into the postseason in winning ways.

In the first of two contests, Brockport faced Cortland away from home on Friday, Feb. 21. The Red Dragons were fifth in the conference at the start of the game. Fifth year guard Tyler Collins led the way for Brockport early in the opening half, contributing to the majority of the team’s offensive rhythm. Despite its bright start, Brockport threw its lead away midway into the first period after a Cortland run saw it flip the score in its favor. The two sides exchanged the lead until the halftime break, where Brockport ultimately managed to fend Cortland off by four points.

In similar fashion to the first half, neither side was able to put the game to rest. Cortland held Brockport at bay for the majority of the period, carrying a 5-point advantage with two minutes left in regulation. After two defensive stops, a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by sophomore guard Jahidi Wallace was enough to force the game into overtime, where Brockport won 86-80 to keep its winning streak alive and secure the #1 seed.

Brockport followed its victory against Cortland with another overtime win over Oswego. The Golden Eagles started off hot, shooting 51% from the field compared to Oswego’s 32%. Their offensive efficiency, along with junior guard Tyler Sullivan’s 13 points off the bench, placed them at a huge advantage over Oswego. Brockport closed the opening half with 42-28 lead.

Although Brockport coasted through the first half, Oswego gradually shrank the gap, allowing the Lakers to come within three points of Brockport midway into the period. As Brockport scrambled to keep hold of its advantage, Oswego went on to tie the contest with a shot from behind the arc right before the final buzzer sounded. Despite the team’s poor second half display, Sullivan and Wallace scored all 11 of Brockport’s points in overtime as they helped their team edge Oswego for an 85-80 victory.

While Brockport struggled to put its final two games to bed in the early stages, it managed to stay competitive during the final stretch, which fuels the team for what is to come during the opening of the SUNYAC Tournament.

“We are not worried because we know what to expect,” senior forward Justin Summers said. “It provided us with experience, especially when you factor we played on the road against two of the better teams in the conference.”

Having claimed the top seed of their conference, the Golden Eagles will receive a bye for the first round of the SUNYAC Tournament and will go on to host the rest of the competition, starting with the semifinals. Brockport is set to face the winner of #5 Cortland and #4 Oswego, as the team looks forward to bringing the conference trophy back to its home court.

“[Head men’s basketball] coach [Greg] Dunne has told us to go out and win each round,” Wallace said. “It is win or go home at this point of the season and we are not willing to go home yet.”

Brockport’s opening round of the tournament is scheduled to take place on Friday, Feb. 28, at 7:30 p.m., where the team will have a chance to play for a spot in this year’s conference final.

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Taken by Vincent Croce:
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