The men’s basketball season came to a close on Saturday, Feb. 18 with an exciting but heartbreaking overtime loss to SUNY Potsdam by a score of 84-82. Fourth-year co-captain Andrew Seniuk was honored before the game for his successful career as a Hawk.
Seniuk was a four-year starter who appeared in 94 games and played a total of 2,507 minutes. He also had a total of 805 points, 406 rebounds, 48 blocks and 79 steals in his collegiate career. During his senior season, Seniuk led the Hawks in both points (300) and rebounds (137).
Seniuk expressed gratitude for his four years as a Hawk.
“I made a lot of relationships that will be part of my life in the future,” he said. “I learned as lot as a person and as a player and I believe it helped me become a stronger person and more mature.”
The Hawks wrapped up their season with losses to Brockport (84-70), Geneseo (82-57), Plattsburgh (80-78) and Potsdam, dropping their record to 1-23 overall with no wins in the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC).
Although the season lacked statistical success for the Hawks, head coach Mike Rejniak believes that everyone on the roster got valuable exposure and experience moving forward.
“Bad news is we lose Seniuk, but good news is we have 14 returners,” he said. “We have the majority of everybody coming back and some guys coming off injuries with Brandon Guest and Paddy Parr, which are pieces that I think can help us.”
Against Brockport, third-year guard Dylan Balducci scored a game-high 21 points and tossed in four assists. Seniuk followed with 19 points, seven rebounds, two assists, a block and a steal, playing a game-high 37 minutes. Second-year guard Cory Garcia threw in nine assists, grabbed nine rebounds and tossed in three points. Second-year guard Nick Paquette and third-year forward James Saunders each added nine to the 70 point total.
Balducci also scored 13 points, grabbed four rebounds and three assists against Geneseo while Seniuk followed with another 12 points. Second-year forward Brandon Tolliver also tossed in seven points and grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds. Garcia tossed in eight assists and first-year guard Tristan Wisseman chipped in eight points in just 13 minutes coming off the bench.
“I have seen a lot of growth from Tristan Wisseman this past weekend,” Garcia said. “He provides scoring our team desperately needed.”
Several Hawks recorded double digits against Plattsburgh, Balducci tossed in 14 points and Garcia enjoyed a double-double with 13 points and 10 assists. Seniuk followed with 12 points and seven rebounds while Paquette and Tolliver tossed in 11 points each.
During his final game as a Hawk, Seniuk scored 21 points behind five 3-pointers. Balducci also scored 15 points with three 3-pointers while Wisseman tossed in 14 points. First-year center Nick Arthur enjoyed a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
“Without Seni we will have a tough time adjusting at first,” Garcia said. “But we are going to be a year older and we have a lot of experience so I think we’ll be alright.”
Garcia also enjoyed a double-double in the season finale with 14 points and tied a single game program record with 16 assists. The record was set on Dec. 5, 2009 by Oppong Agyemang, also against Potsdam. Garcia also led the team in assists (133) and steals (50) in the 2016-2017 season.
“Cory Garcia has shown the most improvement and is a great point guard, he is very unselfish like a point guard should be,” Seniuk said. “If he keeps working at it he will be an all-conference player in the future.”
Rejniak said that although Seniuk is a special player who will be hard to replace, the growth he has seen from several of the younger players yield bright spots for the future.
“In a league that is dominated by seniors, our time is coming,” he said. “I look forward to seeing the continual growth of the young kids and we’ll still relatively be young, but I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of steps we take moving forward as well.”