The SUNY New Paltz men’s basketball team lost an extremely close battle to the Oneonta Red Dragons, losing at home 77-71 and falling to the Oswego Lakers, 80-55.
It didn’t take long for the scoring to begin against Oneonta, as the visitors sank a 3-pointer 12 seconds into the game. Despite the Dragons adding on another two points over a minute later, the Hawks had a response as fourth-year forward Tristan Wissemann landed a 3-pointer to put his team on the board, 5-3. Unfortunately, Oneonta scored 10 unanswered points before the Hawks answered with a layup by second-year forward Isaiah Bien-Aise.
However, New Paltz fought back, repeatedly narrowing Oswego’s point margin to seven points at the closest. After some standard back-and-forth action, the Red Dragons led 43-33 at the end of the first half.
It was at this point of the game where the Hawks were within reach of slaying the Dragons. Bien-Aise began the second half with a jumper, adding two points for the Hawks’ cause. Third-year guard Jake Passaretti followed that up with a jumper of his own before Oneonta came right back with a layup. The half repeatedly saw the Red Dragons briefly pull away by a handful of points before the Hawks clawed closer. With more than two minutes remaining, Oneonta was ahead by nine points, 73-64. Yet a jumper from first-year guard RJ Meyers-Turner, a 3-pointer from Wissemann and a layup from fourth-year forward Scott Reisert brought the Hawks within two, 73-71, with only 27 seconds left in the game.
In a crushing turn of events, the Red Dragons put up four successive free throws after a late Passaretti foul and won the game with mere moments to spare. The loss put the Hawks at 5-12 on the season and put the Red Dragons at 13-4.
“As a team, we have to get better,” said second-year guard and forward Brandon Scott. “We show glimpses of what we are capable of, so we just have to learn, improve daily, and build from that. We need consistency, and if we add that aspect to a full 40-minute game, we would be hard to compete with.”
The Hawks matched up against the Oswego State Lakers on the road on Tuesday evening hoping to recover from their heartbreaking loss three days earlier.
The Lakers tallied a layup 28 seconds into the first half before Wissemann responded with a 3-pointer 22 seconds later. Unfortunately, this would be the only time during the game the Hawks would claim the lead. Despite Bien-Aise scoring two layups in the paint within the first six minutes of the game, the Lakers would go on a scoring streak, eventually garnering a 30-9 lead.
The Hawks fought tougher in the latter portion of the first half, with three layups by Frazier, a three-pointer by Passaretti, two successful free throws and a layup by Scott followed by a fastbreak from Meyers-Turner with 18 seconds left. The first half ended with an Oswego advantage, 54-25.
The second half saw a more complete game by the Hawks, which was initiated by a three-pointer from Scott followed by a layup by fourth-year center Nick Arthur less than a minute later. The final quarter of the game was controlled by the Hawks. Meyers-Turner scored a layup, followed by another by Frazier less than 40 seconds later. Second-year guard Jackson Vertucci scored his first points of the game, a layup, with less than five minutes remaining. The same could be said for first-year guard Aaron Satin as he scored a jumper with 3:41 on the clock. Despite late points from Vertucci and Frazier, the Hawks couldn’t match the Lakers and lost 80-55.
Looking past the score, there were plus sides to the match. The Hawks’ discipline was evident, as they had no technical fouls handed out. Additionally, Frazier, Scott and Meyers-Turner were the top three point scorers, with 11, 10 and nine points, respectively.
“I’m more comfortable with my role on this team and what my coach expects from me,” Scott said. “Whatever my team needs, I make sure I provide.”
The Hawks play the Geneseo Knights on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at home for their Green Out Game to raise mental health awareness. They return to action again at home on Saturday against the Brockport Golden Eagles at 4 p.m. to play their black-out Unity Game, with a “special halftime performance.”