SUNY Plattsburgh powers past men’s basketball

No. 2 seed SUNY Plattsburgh eliminated No. 3 seed Geneseo at the men’s basketball SUNYAC playoffs on Saturday Feb. 23 at top seed SUNY Cortland. The Cardinals and Knights kept the semifinal close, closing the first half with Plattsburgh up by one basket. In the second half, Geneseo never made up the two-point difference and trailed throughout.

After tying at 50 points apiece, an 11-point unanswered run put the Cardinals ahead for good, winning 77-67.

The Knights complete the season with a 17-10 overall record.

Sophomore Gordon Lyons recorded his 10th double-double of the season with 19 points and 12 rebounds. Lyons represented Geneseo on the All-Tournament team – the only honored player not from Plattsburgh or eventual champion Cortland. Lyons was also a second-team All-SUNYAC team selection.

Juniors Connor Fedge and Thomas Decker posted double digits, contributing 15 and 12 points, respectively. Decker and senior Ryan Riefenhauser dished out four assists each.

The Knights posted a 39.7 field goal percentage, far from the 74 percent that Geneseo posted on Feb. 19 that broke the program’s record and topped all Division III schools this season.

Head coach Steve Minton cited the game as a “bad day” for shooting, missing routine baskets and not seeing shots make it to the hoop primarily due to Plattsburgh junior Reggie Williams’ blocking efforts.

Williams, “a big difference maker,” blocked four shots and grabbed 10 boards – ripping some directly from Knights’ hands, according to Minton.

Junior Kalik Parker posed as another threat against the Knights, tallying 20 points.

“Athletically I think we were a little bit over managed,” Minton said, noting Plattsburgh’s size and length over the Knights.

The final contest for the Knights also marked the last for two Geneseo players.

“As a coach, [Riefenhauser] and [senior Marcus Hoy] were both a delight to coach and to be around. They worked hard, they listened, but … I hope as a fan, people could really appreciate coming to watch them play,” Minton said, citing Riefenhauser’s constant drive to work hard and Hoy’s top defense skills.

Riefenhauser graduates as the 15th all-time rebounder in Genesco’s program history after three years and received third-team All-SUNYAC recognition. Hoy experienced the progression toward success, collecting seven, 11, 14 and finally 17 wins in his four years at Geneseo.

“Sometimes things are somewhat cyclical and hopefully right now we’re in a stretch where we’ll keep rising and keep increasing our win total over the next four years or next several years and again, I think a lot of that is due to the hard work and leadership from both [Riefehauser] and [Hoy],” Minton said.

Returning starting players juniors Decker, Fedge and Jordan Jones, will fill the void left by the graduating seniors. Sixth man junior Matt Curry will also contribute. A handful of sophomores, including Lyons, Andy Drescher, James McKenna and Devon Anderson, will compete for playing time, as well.

“There’s a lot of reason[s] to be excited for next year and the year after,” Minton said.