The Geneseo men’s basketball team split their back-to-back games against two conference opponents. SUNY New Paltz was trounced in a 95-74 victory for the Knights on Friday Dec. 2, but the Knights couldn’t hold on to stave off a late comeback against SUNY Oneonta, falling 89-88. The Knights played some of their best basketball against New Paltz, as they completely controlled the game early in the second half. Senior guard John Decker led all scorers with 32 points. He had an efficient night, hitting eight of his 11 attempts, and he really made his defenders pay for fouling him by hitting 13 of his 14 free throws.
“He’s certainly got a lot of tools,” head coach Steve Minton said. “He’s very deceptive, he’s unselfish and can also hurt you with a pass.”
This game was a great example of how well he uses those tools to affect the game.
There were a number of impressive individual performances, though, up and down the roster. Senior guard Justin Ringen scored 16 points—including three three-point shots—in only 19 minutes. Junior guard Kevin Crockett led the bench in scoring with nine points, as he helped to set up his teammates with three assists and a steal.
Sophomore guard CJ Burke also had an impressive game, as he scored eight points. He may have even earned himself some more time on the court, looking into the future, as he displayed a series of shrewd post moves that sent his defenders soaring as he was scoring.
As promising as the Knights played against New Paltz, however, they couldn’t carry over the momentum into the next night for their game versus Oneonta.
Crockett had a great game, leading the team in scoring with 27 points, followed closely by Decker’s 24. The Knights played well in the beginning of the game and even established a 16-point lead. None of this deterred Oneonta, however, who went on a run to come back and win the game with a layup with only three seconds on the clock.
“They just defended and they did a good job on Decker,” Minton said.
Oneonta forced Decker to take difficult shots, leading him to miss a few. Additionally, Oneonta’s team defense really stepped up in the second half, as they didn’t allow Geneseo to land any shots in the final five minutes of play.
The Knights were also outrebounded 36-27. Not being able to start and end possessions with a rebound makes it difficult to control the game on both offense and defense. This, coupled with the fact that the bench struggled to only score 13 points, made it difficult for the Knights to fend off a hungry Oneonta team.
“You can’t take anybody lightly,” Minto said. “There’s got to be an intensity for 40 minutes.”
With their next opponent being the undefeated University of Rochester Yellowjackets, practice will be important, as they have one of their toughest games ahead of them. “When you’re coming off of a loss, the first thing you’ve got to do is make sure that your approach to practice is right and that it has high-energy,” Minton said.
The season is moving along for the Knights, as the competition will only get tougher. Even though the semester is cooling down, the Knights will have to continue to heat up.