The Men’s basketball team split a pair of road games against SUNYAC opponents last weekend.
On Friday, Jan. 23, the Hawks defeated the SUNY Fredonia Blue Devils 65-51.
Bench scoring proved to be a key factor for the Hawks in the matchup, receiving 25 points from the reserves. Fourth-year co-Captain Taylor Sowah recorded his sixth double-double of the season, scoring 10 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Fellow fourth-year co-Captain R.J. Rosa scored 10 points, grabbed five rebounds and dished out two assists. He contributed on defense as well, registering three steals.
New Paltz finished the game with a 34.3 shooting percentage (23-of-67) from the floor.
The following day, the Hawks fell to the Buffalo State Bengals 95-89.
The Hawks shot 50 percent (31-of-62) from the floor on the game and shot 74.1 percent (20-of-27) from the free-throw line. Twenty Hawk turnovers turned into 20 Bengal points. Rebounds also proved to be a difference maker in the game as the Bengals had a 45-36 advantage.
Rosa scored a team-high 24 points. Three other Hawks notched double figures that afternoon including Sowah, third-year co-Captain Kevin Roach and second-year guard Eric Regenbogen who scored 16 points in 24 minutes after coming off the bench.
The Hawks continue their regular season schedule with only SUNYAC games remaining.
Head Coach Mike Rejniak said to prepare, the team is taking it one step at a time and one conference opponent at a time. He said the team will continue to focus and hone in on their strengths and make adjustments. He said that the Hawks have been playing solid basketball on the defensive end and accredits that and depth to the team’s winning stride and contention to win games.
“It allows us to really just focus on what’s important, which is the SUNYAC playoff picture which we’re very well in the hunt with, so that’s great,” he said. “When it comes to games, I’m not really worried about foul trouble which is nice so that’s good for us.”
The Hawks return home to play a five-game homestand beginning with SUNY Oswego, the current top seed in the conference, on Friday, Jan. 30 at 5:30 p.m. at the Hawk Center.
With an overall record of 7-8, and 5-3 record in SUNYAC play, the Hawks are currently in fourth place in the SUNYAC standings. The top six teams make the playoffs at the end of the regular season. Other opponents during the homestand include SUNY Cortland, SUNY Oneonta, SUNY Potsdam and SUNY Plattsburgh.
Roach said the goal stays the same every day the team is on the court. He said they cannot overlook teams during the homestand, but need to focus just on the task that day. The goal stays the same every day they are on the court: win the day.
“We are going to take it one game at a time and hopefully come out with five wins over the home stretch,” he said. “After splitting this weekend, we could not be in a better situation than we are now. A five-game home stretch is perfect for us. We are going to have a tough week of practice to prepare but we are excited to just get back out on the court and show the conference we are a real contender this year.”
With a home record of 3-1 this season, the Hawks are looking forward to playing in front of their home court for the first time since Thursday, Jan. 15.
Roach said the team is looking forward to having the support of the Hawks Nest throughout the homestand.
“They are our sixth man,” he said.