Men’s basketball falls to hot-shooting Cortland

The Geneseo men's basketball season concluded on Saturday Feb. 25 with a SUNYAC tournament semifinal loss to SUNY Cortland, 68-59.

The Knights got off to a quick 7-2 lead, but by the 10-minute mark of the first half Cortland made it 19-17 with a 3-pointer. Sophomore forward Jordan Jones had eight points in the first 10 minutes for Geneseo. By halftime, Cortland had extended the lead to 33-29.

Despite the deficit, head coach Steve Minton said the team "felt very good at halftime." He continued, "Only three Cortland players had scored, and we were pleased with what we were doing." Minton added that the Knights needed to do a better job of containing Cortland's junior guard Jeremy Smith, who had 19 points at halftime.

"We tried a couple of different things [to stop Smith] and it just didn't seem to matter," Minton said.

The second half was more of the same for Geneseo, as they continued to struggle stopping Smith, especially from beyond the three-point arc. He finished the game with 37 points and went 9-12 on 3-pointers.

"He played as good of a game as I've ever seen while at Geneseo," Minton said.

Despite Smith and Cortland's efforts, it was still a two-point game with 3 minutes, 30 seconds left. Then, Geneseo knocked the ball out of bounds on defense with just two seconds left on the shot clock. On the ensuing inbound a Geneseo defender kicked the ball, which reset the shot clock to 15 seconds.

Cortland eventually scored on that possession, which "was a real backbreaker for us," Minton said. Two 3-pointers and four successful foul shots in the last three minutes of the game were enough to close it out for Cortland.

The Knights, who started 1-6 in early December, showed improvement throughout the season in order to secure the No. 3 seed in SUNYAC.

For that reason, coach Minton said the season was successful "in a couple of different ways." Minton continued, "I think we got off to a rough start but ended strong." He also stressed how much he liked how "the young guys came together; they gelled."  

Junior forward Ryan Riefenhauser was named second-team All-SUNYAC and sophomore guard Connor Fedge was named third-team All-SUNYAC. Both will return next year, along with two other starters, to headline a potentially promising season for coach Minton and the Knights.