Men’s basketball splits weekend slate, falls to Oswego in final game of season

Geneseo junior forward Alex Merhige puts up a floater against SUNY Cortland on Friday Feb. 15. The Knights won the game by a score of 64-49 (Udeshi Seneviratne/photo editor).

Despite the Knights’ elimination from SUNYAC play last week and their season ending in a loss, the team still had a momentous last game as they celebrated their star senior players, a strong sentiment of senior forward Sean Avery. 

“Knowing that we had two games left as a team, it definitely bummed us out a little bit, but we were still able to band together and know that although we didn’t get the outcome we wanted with the SUNYAC season, we still had these last two games to play with this team that we will never get back,” Avery said.

The Knights came out on top at their second-to-last game with a score of 64-49 against Cortland, holding them to a season-low scoring output and the team’s second-lowest against Geneseo ever. Although they fell behind early in the first half, junior guard Terrance Rogers shot a three-point basket to bring the Knights to a 7-5 lead around five minutes into the game.

Even though they lost the lead part way through the first half, senior guard Zack Panebianco scored five straight points—with a total of 29 for the game—to lead the team on a 23-3 run. Cortland was then held scoreless for over seven minutes, eventually leaving the Knights with 39-20 advantage going into halftime.

While Cortland was able to cut Geneseo’s lead to 13 points more than once, they were never able to inch any closer and the Knights came out with a win. Rogers was able to help the team out by recording 12 points and seven rebounds while sophomore forward Alex Merhige achieved a team-high nine rebounds and three steals. 

The Knights took on their last game with heavy hearts as they celebrated their graduating players on Senior Day. Unfortunately, they were not able to get a win for their departing seniors, falling 69-63 to Oswego.

Geneseo came out strong in the first seven minutes of play, scoring 15 points to Oswego’s five. The Knights got their biggest lead of the game—10 points—when Rogers hit a jumper in the first half. While Oswego attempted to gain the lead back in the first half, they were unsuccessful as Merhige scored a layup and sophomore forward Joseph Harclerode III made two free throws to put the Knights up 29-26 going into halftime.

The second half was not as successful for the Knights. The Lakers started the half with a 7-0 run, but the Knights fought back with a quick six points to regain the lead. The second half saw 11 lead changes and eight ties, but the Knights could not keep up. The Lakers finished the game with a 13-6 run after tying the game on a foul shot.

Although the loss may have stung, the Knights celebrated their three seniors—Panebianco, senior forward Sean Avery and senior forward Jack Manke—in a pre-game ceremony. 

The Senior Ceremony was a special moment for Avery, as it allowed him to reflect on his time at Geneseo with his tight-knit team.

“Anytime that anyone of us can put on that jersey and go out together and compete with our teammates with brothers behind our back I think is beneficial,” Avery said. “Although the outcome may not be what we wanted it to be, it was still a great experience and something that I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”

Avery is optimistic about passing the baton to the rest of his team as he, Panebianco and Manke leave Geneseo.

“I think that everyone on the team will do their job to improve over the summer, so I’m super excited to see what this next season will hold although we unfortunately won’t be partaking in it.”