Men’s basketball win streak provides momentum, team fights for chance to have first round home game

After wins on Friday Feb. 9 and Saturday Feb. 10 against SUNY New Paltz and SUNY Oneonta, respectively, the Geneseo men’s basketball team has now compiled five straight wins.

The Knights have sustained their current streak by playing as a team and shooting sharp. In their 81-67 victory over New Paltz on Friday, the team shot 52 percent from the field and 38 percent from beyond the arc. These high shooting percentages have been a result of well executed offense and hot shooters. 

“They’re very in tune with shooting and being able to recognize ‘Hey I’ve got a good shot, but he’s got a great shot,’” head coach Steve Minton said. 

One player who’s been taking advantage of open looks is junior guard Quinn Carey. Carey led the team with 31 points against New Paltz, along with seven three-pointers. His strong play has impressed his teammates. Carey was named the SUNYAC Athlete of the Week for his performance over the weekend.

“He’s been shooting the lights out,” senior guard Charlie Zaepfel said. 

The team never trailed against New Paltz and were able to fight off a series of runs put up by their opponent to seal the victory.

The following night, the Knights defeated Oneonta by a score of 73-68. The men once again shot the ball well and hit eight shots from beyond the arc. Carey led the team in points with 24. It was a close game, resulting in only a five-point margin at the end. The team welcomed the opportunity to play in a tight contest. 

“You play a little more conservative and with a little bit more discipline,” Minton said.

The Knights were fortunate to obtain a victory for the three seniors who were being honored that night in what could be their last home game. Zaepfel, forward Jordi Menkhorst and guard Kevin Crockett have all been with the program for four years. All three have played an integral part as leaders this season.

“Anytime you talk about seniors, you talk about their affect most recently, and that’s leadership,” Minton said. “They’ve been great leaders and they’ve been great examples for everyone.”

One senior would like to play at home in front of Geneseo fans during SUNYACs. 

“It was sentimental, but our goal is to have a first-round home game,” Zaepfel said. 

The Knights have definitely put themselves in position to get that home game with their play as of late. Geneseo currently sits at No. 4 in the SUNYAC standings with an overall record of 14-9 and a conference record of 11-5. As long as the team remains as one of the top four seeds, they will have a home game in the opening round of the conference tournament.

The team has just two more games left to close out the regular season. Both are against conference opponents. They will play SUNY Cortland on Friday Feb. 16 and SUNY Oswego on Saturday Feb. 17. If they win those games, the Knights will earn that home court advantage. 

The men’s basketball team has succeeded on both sides of the court and showed off an impressive caliber of team basketball. It has been a thrill witnessing the efforts made to get to this point.