With just three games left on the season, the New Paltz Men’s Basketball team said they won’t be shot down by the competition just yet.
The team is now 6-16 overall and 3-12 in SUNYAC play and out of contention for a bid in the SUNYAC tournament. This is the first season the Hawks have failed to make the tournament since 2009. Despite this, second-year guard Keegan Donovan said there’s still a goal the Hawks wish to achieve.
“We want to keep Oneonta out of the playoffs,” Donovan said. “We aren’t going to be in the tournament this year, which is frustrating. We’re not looking past these last three games, but we are looking at causing an upset for someone.”
The Hawks closed off their 2013-14 homestand with a 93-83 loss to the SUNY Fredonia Blue Devils. The loss was the team’s eighth straight. Their last win was against SUNY Potsdam on Jan. 18.
The team has faced several road bumps this season, with most recent being a string of illness that weakened players, Head Coach Mike Rejniak said.
“We got unlucky this past weekend with a string of players being sick,” he said. “Everyone’s feeling better now, so we have a solid opportunity to end the season on a high note.”
The team will finish off their season on the road against SUNY Geneseo. The Hawks lost to the Blue Knights less than a month ago in overtime. The Hawks have also lost to SUNY Oneonta and SUNY Brockport this season. The Hawks lead the score board in all three games before their opponents came from behind to clinch the win.
Donovan said the desire to even the score, and the fact that the Hawks don’t have a playoff spot to contend for, gives them an advantage going into the final stretch of the season.
“There’s always a revenge factor when you face a team twice,” Donovan said. “We unfortunately let Geneseo get the better of us in overtime, but now we have a chance to make up for it. And since we aren’t in the SUNYACs this year and our opponents are, we have nothing to lose and we can go into games where all the pressure is on the other team.”
Despite not receiving a bid for the SUNYAC tournament, fourth-year guard Andrew Joseph said practices have maintained the level of intensity needed if the team were to be making a playoff push.
He also said, as a fourth-year, he’s using part of the time he has left as a Hawk to help prep the team’s young core of players for the future.
“My time here is almost up, so I’m really trying to help our younger players get better,” Joseph said. “There are only two of us graduating from the team and we have a lot of good, young players. I’m trying to get better for the younger players. A season like this is good for younger players because it will inspire and motivate them to work harder.”
The team will go on the road against Oneonta this Friday, Feb. 14 at 8 p.m. Their final game of the season will be at Geneseo on Saturday, Feb. 22 at 4 p.m.