The Men’s basketball team entered the win column for the first time this season with a 74-57 victory over Mount Saint Mary College on Tuesday, Nov. 25.
At the end of the first half of last week’s matchup, the Mount Saint Mary Knights held the lead over the Hawks 33-29. New Paltz came back for the win in the second half, notching a 17-point victory. The Hawks led the way in rebounds in the matchup with 45 over the Knights’ 34 and a 51.9 shooting percentage.
Fourth-year co-Captain R.J. Rosa tied with fellow fourth-year co-Captain Taylor Sowah in game-high points, both totalling in at 20. Sowah also grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds, and Rosa was just behind with 12 total in the matchup. Third-year co-Captain Kevin Roach reached another double-digit marker by scoring 11 points for the Hawks.
The Hawks’ offense has been lacking so far this season, according to second-year guard/forward Joe Tino – but in this game, he said, New Paltz stepped up their esteem in offense and paid it off for the win.
“In our previous games, we had been playing great defense but we were having trouble putting the ball in the basket,” Tino said. “After halftime against MSMC, we finally felt really comfortable on offense and really executed our plays well, which led to us scoring over 40 points in the second half.”
After returning from break with a 1-4 record, the Hawks will begin SUNYAC play as they travel to Plattsburgh to take on the Cardinals on Friday, Dec. 5 at 5:30 p.m. The Cardinals tally in at 4-1 so far in the season. The following day, New Paltz plays the SUNY Potsdam Bears at 2 p.m., who currently hold a 1-2 season record.
Head Coach Mike Rejniak said that the Hawks are well prepared for the SUNYAC opener since they’ve had a full week of practice time after break, whereas Plattsburgh and Potsdam both had games to play on Tuesday.
“Preparation is going to be crucial – I think we’ve been preparing and we’ve got some new stuff that we can actually put in time to work on and move forward,” Rejniak said. “Our goal is to win both, very simple, but we have to take it one game at a time. We play Plattsburgh, who is very good, on Friday night and then we’ll take it from there. One step at a time.”
In terms of preparation for this weekend, the team is pinpointing three key aspects of their game, Rosa said. Their main focus is on Plattsburgh since they pose as a more challenging opponent who is predicted to win their conference, he said.
“Globally, we want to slow [the competition] down, outrebound them and IQ them to death,” Rosa said. “If we execute those three things, we will come out 2-0 this weekend.”
“We do realize these games will be crucial to our record and we are looking to keep our play from last game to transfer it to the weekend,” he said. “Our goal for this weekend is to sweep the two teams. It hasn’t been done in New Paltz history, but it is definitely achievable.”
Sports Copy Editor Melissa Kramer contributed reporting to this story.