The SUNY New Paltz men’s basketball team had three more games left in their 2019-2020 season. Although their chances for playoffs were over, the men looked to finish their season out strong.
On Feb. 18, the Hawks were set to face the SUNY Cortland Red Dragons for the second time this season. Previously, the New Paltz fell to Cortland 90-79.
A jumper from first-year RJ Meyers-Turner put the first score on the board at 19:44. The Dragons answered quickly, and for a while the score went back and forth between the opponents. Fourth-years Scott Reisert and Tristan Wissemann worked together with fourth-year Matt English to tack on points for the Hawks.
Wissemann put in a lot of work the first half. With two 3-pointers, four layups, a jumper and a free throw, Wissemann added 17 points himself to New Paltz’s score in the first half. Despite his efforts, the Dragons led 49-37 going into the last half.
It was now Meyers-Turner’s turn to make an impact in the game. He tacked on three 3-pointers and two jumpers of his own in the latter half. English also contributed with a jumper and layup. Their efforts helped close the scoring gap between Cortland and New Paltz, however, the Dragons kept a steady lead over the Hawks.
Although the Hawks fell 78-71, they led in second chance points 18-8.
English said this season he has enjoyed getting to form a good bond with his teammates and work hard with them everyday. When asked about something the team can be proud of for this season, English said the team never broke down on each other.
“We stuck together the entire year and continued to believe in each other,” he said. “Not a lot of teams do that through times of hardship.”
English also added that he’s proud of his time on the team. “Not many people are fortunate enough to play college basketball and I was given the opportunity to represent this school and team for four whole years,” he said.
The Hawks finished up their season with two wins in the SUNYAC division to end their previous 8-game losing streak, defeating both the SUNY Plattsburgh Cardinals and the SUNY Potsdam Bears.
In a close win, the Hawks took on the Cardinals and refused to lose their momentum, as this game’s outcome was a large factor in Plattsburgh’s possible place in the SUNYAC tournament this week. The Hawks landed a 46% average of shooting from the field during the first half of competition, while on the other hand Plattsburgh only scored nine baskets compared to New Paltz’s 17. This defense from the Hawks gave them a 10-point lead going into the second half of the game.
With nearly nine minutes remaining in the game, first-year Brandon Scott had a fastbreak in the paint, allowing him to have a memorable dunk and to confirm the 16-point lead the Hawks had going into the final minutes. Soon enough, the Cardinals caught up to the Hawks, trailing four.
Reisert asserted his dominance as he finished with the highest scoring value for the team, earning 21 points and 13 rebounds. Reisert also had five assists, two blocks and a steal. Ultimately, the Hawks defeated the Cardinals 73-68.
The next day, still on the road, the Hawks took on the Potsdam Bears for their final game of the season.
The Bears had clinched the No. 2 seed in the SUNYAC tournament, and chose the Hawks for their senior night. Sadly, the day Potsdam wanted didn’t go as they planned.
The Hawks went into halftime with a nine-point lead, 53-44. Soon after, second-year Jake Passaretti brought the Hawks’ score tied with Potsdam at 62, but the Bears had a scoring-run up their sleeves. After a 12-2 run, the Bears took a 10-point lead with only 11:10 minutes left on the clock.
The Hawks collectively brought the score to a tie 76-76. With 1:05 remaining, Reisert came in with a layup to put the Hawks up three points to the Bears. Soon enough, the score was tied once more at 91-91. Fourth-year Tristan Wissemann trudged forward for the Hawks, pushing them ahead 94-91 with 43 seconds left of gameplay. The Bears came back, trailing 94-93 with only 32 seconds remaining.
The Hawks held the Bears for the remainder of the second half, with six points earned on Passaretti free throws, finishing the game and their season with a win, 100-96.