Basketball teams split weekend before bowing out in SUNYACs

A dominant defensive performance limited Fredonia to 13 first half points on Friday, Feb. 16 as the Geneseo men's basketball team defeated the Blue Devils 66-44.

After being down 12-8 early, the Knights held their opponent to one point over the next seven minutes. This feat tied a record for fewest points allowed in a half. The implementation of a zone defense was key to the success, and Fredonia was unable to recover. The team also showed balanced scoring, with senior Steve McDonnell leading the way with 15 points. Sophomore guard Scott Morton added 13 points, knocking down four of five three-point attempts. Sophomore forward Jeff Howe scored 10 points and grabbed five rebounds.

However, the next day the team struggled against the first-place team from Brockport, losing 79-63. Only two players posed a threat on offense, as Morton had a team-leading 22 points and senior forward Greg Spears scored 20 points. Coach Steve Minton said that his team has struggled at times with scoring this year, and Brockport kept the team off-balance all night. "We need to find new ways to score, since we have seen a little bit of slack in scoring at certain points this year," said Minton.

The Knights entered the SUNYAC playoffs as the #6 seed and traveled to Oswego on Tuesday, Feb. 20 to face the third-seeded Lakers. Their late-season struggles continued in a 61-51 loss, despite finally having everybody healthy for just the third time all season.

Geneseo had just one player in double figures, with senior forward Scott Sciera scoring 12 points on 6-10 shooting. Morton played all 40 minutes, registering nine points, seven rebounds, seven assists, three steals and three blocks despite going just 3-14 from the field. Senior guard Brian Bennett added eight points and six rebounds in his first significant action since a 75-66 road win over Buffalo St. on Jan. 23. The Knights end the season with an overall record of 15-11.

The Lady Knights dropped a close game to Fredonia, losing 68-67. The team played from behind the entire time, and coach Kris Ruffo said that she felt that the team could have played better on the defensive end. Four players scored in double-figures, with junior forward Amanda Haney leading all scorers with 19 points. Senior guard Katy Irving added 17 points, while junior guard Merrissa Wilson and junior forward Annie Verdino added 13 and 12 points respectively. The women won the battle on the boards, but were unable to pull out the victory. "We strayed from our game plan before the game, and we paid for it with the loss," said Ruffo.

The women came back and followed up the tough loss with a big win against Brockport. The final score was 61-55. "This was a really big win for us," Ruffo said. Verdino took over the game in the second half, scoring 18 of her 22 points in the final 20 minutes. "Annie is a tough matchup one-on-one, since she can spread the floor and handles the ball well for a forward," added Ruffo.

The women didn't fare much better than the men in the playoffs, however, bowing out as the #5 seed to #4 New Paltz, 85-77. Geneseo held a commanding 18-point lead with under three minutes to play, but the Hawks surged back in the final minutes hitting four three-pointers to send the game to overtime.

Verdino's 35 points, a career-high, weren't enough for the Lady Knights, who had just one other player in double-digits, sophomore guard Jamie Scordino with 11. Verdino also led the team with five rebounds, while sophomore guard Amanda Bihr pitched in eight points, five rebounds, and five assists in the losing effort. The women end their season over .500 as well, with a record of 14-12.