Before winter break, the men's basketball team was reeling with a 2-7 overall record. Since returning to Geneseo on Jan. 2, however, the Knights have gone 6-2, including 5-2 in conference.
One of the keys to the team's recent success, according to head coach Steve Minton, has been a slight lineup change.
"We've gone a little smaller early on," Minton said. "That allows us to take advantage of our size coming off the bench later in the game."
Geneseo has also been able to control the tempo of games, something they had trouble doing earlier in the season.
"We've been able to make [the game] go both ways. We can make it slower when we need it slower and faster when we need that," Minton said.
A key player in this stretch making contributions to the changes in tempo has been senior guard Mike Hoy. To look over the box scores of each game, Hoy's numbers wouldn't blow you away, but Minton says he's been doing the intangible things that don't show up on the stat sheet.
“[Hoy's] been as steady the last seven or eight games as anyone we've ever had. He's a guy who doesn't get rattled, and the rest of the guys feed off of that," Minton said.
Minton cited the stretch in the Jan. 21 game against SUNY New Paltz when Hoy recorded five points, two steals and a block that allowed the Knights to go from a two-point lead to a 14-point lead as evidence.
"Those are the kinds of things that you want your senior leaders to do," Minton stated.
Another player that has sparked the recent winning streak is junior forward Ryan Riefenhauser. He received SUNYAC Player of the Week honors on Jan. 9 after averaging 15 points, 8.5 rebounds and 3.5 steals in wins over D'Youville College and SUNY Cortland.
"Ryan is by no means very flashy, but he's aggressive, hard-nosed and determined. You don't really notice him during the game, but when push comes to shove he's there for us," Minton said.
Riefenhauser is currently the team leader in scoring with 11.5 points per game and is second on the team in assists with 3.0 per game, behind only Hoy at 3.8.
Also noteworthy is how seven out of the eight opponents have been conference foes, and every game has come down to the final minutes with an average margin of victory of just 7.5 points. Coach Minton said that he thinks this has to do with the depth of the SUNYAC as a whole.
“In the 13 years I've been here the conference is top-to-bottom the best it's ever been," Minton said. "There are always some teams at the top, but six through 10, it's the deepest and has the most parity I've ever seen."
The Knights travel to SUNY Brockport on Saturday Jan. 28 to take on the Golden Eagles.