Men’s basketball breaks Cortland streak, avenges SUNYAC elimination

The men’s basketball team completed its final preseason competition in the Wendy’s College Classic on Friday Nov. 30 and Saturday Dec. 1 before winning its home and conference opener against SUNY Cortland. 

The Knights finished the Wendy’s College Classic 1-2, placing seventh. Geneseo fell to Nazareth College and Roberts Wesleyan College and defeated the Rochester Institute of Technology.

“Well anybody that you play in this tournament is going to be tough. It’s got a reputation for the tournament … for the history of it and for the longevity of it,” head coach Steve Minton said. “I don’t think enough is said about the quality of the teams. I think that most years there’s eight teams in it and any one can win.”

Roberts Wesleyan escaped with a 76-73 victory over the Knights in the second game. Junior Connor Fedge posted 16 points, four assists and eight rebounds. Sophomore Gordon Lyons and junior Matt Curry added 15 and 12 points, respectively. 

Geneseo placed seventh above RIT, defeating the Tigers 67-58. Sophomore duo Andy Drescher and Devon Anderson combined for 33 points in their first career starts. Drescher scored a career-high 20 points, including four 3-pointers, while Anderson added 13 points. The pair collected four rebounds apiece. 

Minton cited rebounding as a weakness that brought the Knights down against their competitors.

“A lot of that is effort and toughness and we were outmanned a little bit in both of those areas in the two losses,” Minton said. He added that free throw shooting and keeping opponents off the line will be keys to defeating Cortland. 

On Tuesday Dec. 4, the Knights sought revenge against the Red Dragons, the team that eliminated Geneseo from the SUNYAC championship playoffs on Feb. 24 last season.  

Geneseo prevailed 70-66, defeating the previously undefeated Cortland. 

Senior Jeremy Smith – who scored nine 3-pointers in his 37 points against Geneseo in the 2012 SUNYAC playoffs – leads the Red Dragons in scoring so far in the 2012-2013 season. 

“We’ve got to take a little bit of a focus off of that because while he is capable of doing that, there’s three other guys that they have that are capable of doing that too, so we can’t put too much of a focus on him and we have to understand there are other guys that need to be guarded,” Minton said. 

The Knights limited Smith to seven points on Tuesday, but couldn’t stop sophomore Kevin McMahon from scoring 22. 

Curry led the Knights with 17 points in his fourth double-digit scoring effort in five games. Senior Ryan Riefenhauser posted eight points – six during a 14-2 Geneseo run with three minutes, 35 seconds remaining. Riefenhauser also grabbed nine rebounds, helping the Knights outrebound the Red Dragons 34-29. 

The Knights – who stand in fourth in SUNYAC– test seventh and 10th-place conference competitors SUNY Oneonta and SUNY New Paltz, on Dec. 7 and 8, respectively.