Of course he wasn’t counting. Junior forward Gordon Lyons let the game play out instead. Then, his friends and family erupted in cheer after a layup, and he knew. He had joined the club. Lyons became the 24th player in Geneseo history to score 1,000 career points for the men’s basketball team. He joins teammate senior co-captain Connor Fedge, who reached the milestone on Jan. 28 – a rare feat in a single season.
“It’s just an honor to be part of the club… to just be part of that discussion is an honor,” Lyons said.
The Amherst, N.Y. native scored the 1,000th point on Feb. 15 on his second home court, of sorts, at Buffalo State College. Lyons scored 28 points and grabbed 16 boards to record his 14th double-double of the season in an 81-67 victory.
High numbers are something consistent in Lyons’ stats. He became the 10th player in the program’s history to collect over 600 rebounds. He leads the conference in shooting percentage (.641) and rebounds per game (11.2), good for top national rankings, too. Lyons also ranks fifth in the SUNYAC with 18.8 points per game, after the 65-53 loss to SUNY Cortland on Tuesday Feb. 19. For his recent efforts, Lyons was named SUNYAC men’s basketball player of the week.
College ball wasn’t always so easy for Lyons. He recalled freshman year of college, facing an adjustment after high school. Just 17 years old at the time, Lyons felt the intimidation, noting how the players were much quicker, stronger and all-around more skilled in this competitive Division III league.
It wasn’t an easy climb for Lyons, who started his sophomore year with a “kick in the butt,” he said. In a practice before the first game, Lyons and head coach Steve Minton chatted about expectations. That was the point when Minton raised the bar for Lyons.
“In that moment, I don’t know what switched on, but I just started playing better,” Lyons said. “I don’t know what he said or what that did, but that it kind of turned it around and woke me up a little.”
Since then, Lyons’ hard work has paid off – both on and off the court. The accounting major with a 3.76 grade point average was named a 2013-2014 Capital One Academic All-America Division III men’s basketball team honoree by the College Sports Information Directors of America on Tuesday Feb. 18.
Lyons is one of two juniors voted to the team, in addition to 13 seniors, who have earned a minimum 3.3 cumulative GPA while acting as a starter or key reserve on the team.
“I’ve always tried to be a hard-worker and tried to incorporate that in all aspects of life, whether it’s school or sports or any job I’ve been given,” Lyons said. “I really don’t like to let people down so I try to work hard and give my best effort.”
The Knights host their final regular-season games on Friday and Saturday Feb. 21 and 22, respectively.
Minton said he believes that this year’s team “has the opportunity to leave their mark.”
“They are going to have to kind of recognize that and work together to form some kind of legacy if you will,” he said.
Geneseo is guaranteed third seed in the final SUNYAC standings, but no higher than second. Two wins and two losses by SUNY Plattsburgh would allow the Knights to move into second place. Playoffs begin Tuesday Feb. 25.
“You get to a point where you can’t make a mistake now because, as confident as you might be, you lose, you go home,” Minton said.