After starting the season with two consecutive wins, the Men’s Basketball team has lost their last four games.
Since returning from their west coast trip, the Hawks have lost to Vassar College 73-61, Delaware Valley College 85-58, Mount Saint Mary College 71-57 and Eastern Connecticut State 77-53.
Head Coach Mike Rejniak said the common theme in their losses is that they’ve displayed a strong effort on defense, but they’re just not scoring enough points.
Being a young team, the players are in their own heads right now, Rejniak said. The team’s five second-year players have “shown moments of great play,” but are not playing consistently enough and while they take the same shots in practice, it’s just not translating to the games.
“We’re trying to get our swag back,” Rejniak said. “Once that happens we’ll be great.”
Graduate student Captain Nick Taldi said the team isn’t playing like they were during their California trip because they’re relying too much on isolation plays on offense. Instead, the team needs to move the ball and find the open man to ensure they take the best possible shot during each possession.
He said he has been telling the team to stay positive despite the losses because it’s a long season and they’ve been playing tough opponents.
Rejniak said he is pleased with how the team’s defense has been doing so far, allowing their opponents to score 72 points per game while shooting 44 perfect from the field, but also said they need to knock down shots on offense in order to get back on the winning side.
“You can say defense wins championships, but defense only goes so far,” Rejniak said.
The team has to be more disciplined on both sides of the court, which is costing them points throughout the game and giving the other team a swing in momentum, Rejniak said.
Taldi said he has to become more involved with the offense and play more consistently, which will benefit the team.
Rejniak said he’s been pleased with first-year forward Andrew Seniuk, who’s averaging 10.3 points per game and shooting 67 percent on his three-point attempts.
“He’s been a surprise, quite frankly, and he knows that,” Rejniak said. “He’s been very consistent and has been playing with a high IQ.”
Rejniak said the tough competition the Hawks have faced so far has allowed his team to prepare for conference play.
All four of the teams they have lost to are expected to win their conference, so he said they will be no different than the competition in the SUNYAC, which will be strong top-to-bottom this season.
The Hawks will open SUNYAC play this weekend at SUNY Fredonia on Dec. 6 and at Buffalo State on Dec. 7.
Taldi said road trips are tough and the team needs to find a way to split these games, and if they can win both games it would be a huge boost to the team’s season.
Rejniak said he is expecting two different styles in their first two SUNYAC games. Fredonia will be organized and play a slower tempo under new coach Phillip Seymore. Buffalo State, on the other hand, plays a run n’ gun style and tries to turn the game into a track meet. Rejniak said the team will need to have a different mindset for each game.