The Geneseo men's basketball team traveled to Buffalo State College and SUNY Fredonia on Feb. 10 and Feb. 11, respectively, splitting the weekend's games and remaining right in the mix for a SUNYAC playoff spot.
On Friday Feb. 10, the Knights defeated a tough Buffalo State team by a score of 84-82, led by junior Ryan Riefenhauser's 24-point and 14-rebound performance.
Before a strong finish, Geneseo was trailing by nine at halftime.
"We had a game plan to slow the tempo down, but we did not follow through with that in the first half," said head coach Steve Minton.
According to Minton, the team had an entire week to prepare for these games. They had time to execute a game plan that included not only slowing down the tempo, but keeping the score in the 70s and 80s as well.
After going on a 30-13 run in the second half, the Knights were able to get back in the game and close it out thanks to clutch free throws late in the game by Riefenhauser and sophomore Connor Fedge, who finished the game with 10 points and eight rebounds. Senior Mike Hoy added 18 points and shot 8-13 from the field. Freshman Gordon Lyons shot 6-7 from the charity stripe on the way to a 14-point and eight-rebound game.
"The second half of the game was the best half of basketball the team has played in a couple of years," said Minton.
Geneseo's victory over Buffalo State handed the Bengals their fifth overall loss on the year.
On Feb. 11, Geneseo found itself on the losing end against Fredonia, falling by a score of 50-62. After a phenomenal performance the night before, the Knights could not keep up their hot shooting, hitting just 19 percent of their 3-pointers and 30 percent from the field overall. Seniors Abe Miller, Ethan Estabrooks and Mike Hoy led the scoring with seven points each.
"We missed some easy shots, but for the most part our shots were not falling," Minton said. "We didn't play with a great deal of energy. We were sluggish and fatigued."
Despite the lack of energy, coach Minton commended the squad for their effort.
"In both outings, the team really believed they had what it took to win and execute the game plan," said Minton. He also added that having a player like Riefenhauser doesn't hurt their case. "He works so hard out there. He is capable of a double-double every night."
Notwithstanding the loss, Geneseo remains in fifth place in the SUNYAC standings. They were in fourth place going into the weekend and could have ended up anywhere between second and sixth at the weekend's close.
As they gear up for the playoffs, the team feels confident they could compete for a SUNYAC title.
"Anybody could win on any given night in this conference," said Minton.
The Knights cap off their regular season with home games against SUNY Potsdam and SUNY Plattsburgh on Feb. 17 and 18, respectively.
On Feb. 14, the Knights fell to No. 16-ranked SUNY Oswego, 67-56. Geneseo jumped out to an early 10-point lead but Oswego closed the half with an 18-5 run and never looked back.