The Men’s Basketball team dropped three games this week on the road, giving them a conference record of 3-10.
“Playoffs are still possible if we get on a run,” Head Coach Mike Rejniak said. “We just made it a heck of a lot harder for ourselves.”
The team suffered a 86-81 loss to SUNY Potsdam Jan. 31 before dropping a contest against SUNY Plattsburgh 90-78 the following day. The Red Dragons of SUNY Cortland trumped the Hawks 84-56 on Feb. 4.
“The last few games we’ve been battling the flu bug, but we’ve been doing the best with what we’ve got,” Rejniak said. “The long travel to Potsdam and Plattsburgh was not ideal.”
Rejniak said Potsdam and Plattsburgh’s ability to come out of the gates swinging by establishing their tempo right at the beginning of the game led to their early success, and a loss for the Hawks. Setting the pace was a strength the team had at the beginning of the season, he said, but is something the Hawks have been struggling with recently.
“Last weekend was definitely not our best weekend,” third-year Captain Taylor Sowah said. “Our team lacked the energy in the opening minutes in both games which lead to a big lead by both teams.”
Sowah said the team came out stronger in the second half of both games, but realized that a lethargic first half couldn’t be made up for.
To remedy this, Rejniak said the Hawks are going back to the basics.
“What we’ve been doing in practice is really establishing our swag again, and getting more confident by going right back to the fundamentals, which we had at the beginning of the year just to re-center our focus going into these next two home games,” Rejniak said.
At this point in the season, Rejniak said he aims to hold practices that are more intense than the games, in order to help players push through any mental and physical barriers that may stop them from performing at their best.
“I will give a lot of credit to this group for having dealt with a lot of adversity this year from many different areas – it’s just a whole learning process,” he said. “They continue to stick together and they haven’t given up yet. They just continue to elevate their game. They’re still hungry, which goes to say a lot for a team of primarily sophomores and freshmen.”
Looking forward, Sowah said the team has nothing to lose.
“We’re just going to give it all we got for a full 40 minutes to try and still make playoffs,” he said.
The Hawks will return to the Hawk Center Friday, Feb. 7 to take on Buffalo State and Saturday, Feb. 8 to contend against SUNY Fredonia.