This past weekend, the Geneseo men's basketball team split their games against conference rivals SUNY Potsdam and SUNY Plattsburgh, winning an overtime victory against Potsdam on Friday, 71-66, and losing Saturday afternoon to the Plattsburgh Cardinals, 65-58.
The Potsdam Bears faced a difficult crowd Friday night in Geneseo on Blue and White night. School spirit was evident, and the nearly 700 fans that turned out in support of the home team played a big part in creating a great home atmosphere for the Knights. Over the course of the first half, both teams' scores remained fairly even and at halftime Geneseo led 33-29.
Potsdam came out strong in the second half, however, and went on a 13-2 run. Geneseo wouldn't quit and answered the Bears' burst of offense with a 17-2 streak to take a 52-43 lead with just over eight minutes remaining in regulation time.
The Bears clawed back yet again and took the lead before senior Brandon Simpson tied the game at 58 with just three ticks left to send the game in to overtime.
In overtime, Potsdam grabbed an early lead but the Knights refused to quit and hung on to earn a much needed victory. Simpson finished with 21 points on the night and fellow senior Kyle Stevens added a game-high 26 points and 11 boards.
Head coach Steve Minton said he was happy with his team's performance on Friday. "The crowd definitely helped against Potsdam," he said. "I thought that Kyle and Brandon were major keys to the victory; I was very pleased and proud of them. The tide shifted in regulation and we fought back and didn't give up … I was very proud of my team for coming back."
The Knights did not fare nearly as well the following day. After trailing early 14-4, the Cardinals played very well, coming back to a 17-16 lead and never looking back. Geneseo was forced to play a difficult game of catch-up and at one point trailed by as many as 13.
The Knights were unable to stop Plattsburgh's Steve Thomas, who scorched their defense for 27 points.
Despite the tough loss, Minton said he remained optimistic. "I thought Saturday we played better in many ways but it was against a better team," he said. "Plattsburgh will be a team to be reckoned with in the SUNYAC tournament. I believe for the most part we controlled the tempo of the game, but we only played even in the second half when we needed to come back."
The Knights are now 3-5 in conference play and 4-11 overall.
Geneseo's games next weekend will benefit the Coaches vs. Cancer charity, which collects money for the American Cancer Society. Friday, the Knights host SUNY Oswego, a team Geneseo already beat on the road earlier this season and Saturday's game will feature SUNY Cortland.
[Editor's note: On Tuesday night the men's team travelled to SUNY Fredonia and lost 65-62. Sophmore Abe Miller scored a season-high 15 and Simpson added 15 more in the losing effort.]