The men's and women's basketball teams faced off against Cortland and New Paltz this past weekend. The men picked up two impressive victories and improved to 11-4 overall, while taking over sole possession of first place in the SUNYAC. The women suffered a tough loss to Cortland in overtime and lost a close game against top-ranked New Paltz.
The Blue Knights won a tight game in front of their home crowd Friday night against the visiting Red Dragons. Junior forward Tarik Kitson led the team with 19 points and also grabbed four rebounds. Senior guard Brian Bennett added nine points and two assists, while sophomore guard Scott Morton dished out a team-high six assists and contributed six points. Sophomore forward Jeff Howe played well down low, scoring eight points, grabbing a career-high 12 rebounds and adding four assists.
A strong second half pushed the men to a 71-54 win on the road against New Paltz on Saturday. Kitson again led the way with 24 points, shooting 12 of 14 from the field. He also added four rebounds and two assists. Morton scored 14 points, grabbed a team-high nine rebounds, had seven assists and four blocked shots. Senior forward Scott Sciera chipped in 13 points and six rebounds while Bennett led the team with nine assists to go along with his nine points.
The two teams were tied after the first half, but the Knights dominated the rest of the way. The team has played well in the second half all season long, scoring 541 points in the second half as compared to 501 in the first 20 minutes of the game. This ability to finish a game strong has been vital to their success this season. The men will have a rematch with New Paltz this weekend as well as a game against Oneonta.
Coach Steve Minton attributed his team's second half success to his team's ability to make adjustments at half time. "I have bright players, and they are quick to adjust to the flow of the game," Minton said. Minton trusts the fact that he can change the game plan and the team will go out and execute.
The men picked up their third victory of the week and fourth in a row at Buffalo State on Tuesday, taking down the Bengals 75-66. Greg Spears led the way for Geneseo with 23 points and 10 rebounds, one of three Knight double-doubles. Kitson had 12 points and 10 boards, while Howe pitched in 11 points and 10 rebounds, helping the Knights move to 12-4 overall and 6-1 in conference.
"We are getting solid play from everybody. We have been without some key players in the past few games, and the rest of the team has really stepped up," Minton said in reference to his team's injury problems. "Every part of our game has been strong, from ball handling and scoring to play in the post."
The women lost an overtime matchup with Cortland on Friday night. Senior guard Katy Irving led the Knights with a career-high 22 points, four steals and two assists. Junior forward Annie Verdino scored 18 points, pulled down nine rebounds, and also blocked two shots. Junior forward Amanda Haney reached double-digits with 10 points while grabbing eight rebounds. Sophomore guard Jamie Scordino added seven points and six rebounds.
On Saturday the Lady Knights traveled to New Paltz to face the 7-0 Hawks, the top team in the SUNYAC division. Geneseo recovered from a 41-31 halftime deficit to cut the Hawks' lead to 67-64 with 1:38 to play, but New Paltz put the game away with four free throws in the final 18 seconds.
Haney scored a game-high 18 points and also had seven rebounds. Verdino netted 13 points and sophomore forward Bridget Riley added 12. Verdino and Scordino each had five rebounds while junior guard Lydia Reed added six points.
The women snapped their three-game SUNYAC slide with a 69-66 comeback victory over Buffalo State on Tuesday. The Lady Knights went on a 10-0 run in the final 1:17 to pull out the win. Haney posted a double-double with 20 points to go along with 13 rebounds, while Verdino added 13 with seven boards. The women are now 8-8 overall and 3-4 in SUNYAC play.
Both teams will host New Paltz and Oneonta over the weekend, as each begins to position themselves for SUNYACs.