Despite having a very talented roster, the New Paltz Men’s Basketball team has been struggling to produce some critical wins. Over the winter break, the team achieved four wins out of the six games, suffering losses to SUNY Geneseo and William Paterson University. But it seems the Hawks are having a difficult time spreading their wings, adding two more defeats to their record since the start of the Spring semester.
From Jan. 21 to Jan. 28, the Hawks finally breached a three-game winning streak, following a devastating blowout against SUNY Oneonta (71-54). In their final matchup against SUNY Brockport, the Hawks hosted the Golden Eagles and sent them packing. Both teams played strong, being very aggressive on both sides of the court and establishing the neck-to-neck tone for the rest of the night. Leading scorers, second-year guard Rylan Blondo, second-year forward Lucas Seyoum and second-year guard/forward Solomon Neahaus put up a combined total of 51 out of New Paltz’s 73 points.
While winning against the Brockport Eagles was a sweet triumph, avenging an early loss by blowing out SUNY Geneseo was the icing on the cake. Saturday, Jan. 22, the Hawks defeated the Knights 84-54, with second-year Blondo leading the scoreboards once again. This time, the team made sure that there wouldn’t be any suspenseful finishes; shooting 57% and holding their opponents to only 28% from the field and 24% from the three.
Squeezing out another win to add to the Hawks’ record was a difficult task when facing SUNY Cortland’s Red Dragons. On Friday, Jan. 28, Cortland needed to go the length of the floor in 6.7 seconds in order to either tie or beat the buzzer, but the Hawks’ aggressive full-court defense held the players back in a 73-71 victory.
Unfortunately, following their eighth conference win for the season against Cortland, the Hawks lost their streak when hosting an even tougher competitor, No. 22 in the country, Oswego State Lakers. At the start, SUNY New Paltz held the lead, 6-3, but then a 15-0 run started by consecutive Oswego three’s, truly set the pace. The Hawks were kept at their lowest scoring total of the season, shooting 22-for-58 in the game. Blondo, New Paltz’s consistent high-scoring player, barely reached double-digit points against the Lakers’ strong defense. The Lakers, who improved their record to 12-0 in the conference and 18-1 overall, shot 42% from the field with their 16-for-35.
They are continuing their road trip Friday, Feb. 4 in Buffalo where they will take on the Bengals and hope to get back on a winning path.