The Oswego State men’s basketball team, coming off of its Max Ziel Tournament win, took on first-year head coach Adam Stockwell’s former team, Clarkson, Tuesday.
Stockwell saw a few familiar faces suited up on the other side of the court, which caused some early emotions, but that did not last long as the Lakers walked out victorious, 60-46. It was the Lakers’ third win in a row and first game since they won their home tournament on Nov. 21.
"I’m excited we got the win," Stockwell said. "We beat a good team tonight that’s going to win a lot of games this year."
The Lakers came out to battle and rebounded well after their loss to Utica College to open the season.
"With all of the newcomers we had some jitters," Laker forward Chad Burridge said. "We were just unprepared I think, but now that we ended up winning the tournament, we get the feeling [of winning], so now we see how that feels. Now we just want to keep that feeling going."
The Lakers’ largest deficit was three points with 12:41 left in the first half.
Given the Lakers’ productivity from their starters and bench players, it would seem as if they did not do anything wrong. However, that was not the case. The 3-point shooting hurt the Lakers again as they went 1-for-14 behind the arch, with the only 3-pointer coming in the first half by leading scorer Burridge. This has been a trouble area for the Lakers so far this season, as they have only shot above 28 percent from the arch in one game this season.
The battle of the boards was dominated by the Lakers, as they out-rebounded Clarkson 54-34. Hayden Ward had eight of his 14 rebounds on the offensive end, which translated to second chance opportunities to score points.
Burridge finished with another double-double, with 15 points and 11 rebounds. He also had four blocked shots and three steals.
"We came out strong," Burridge said. "[We] ran our offense well; our biggest success came off of the offensive rebounds. We beat them on the boards and that’s big. In the end, it [accounted] for most of our points."
Ward earned the start at center and finished with a double-double himself, as he scored 13 points and came down with a team-high 14 boards, while also assisting on one shot. Conor Monaghan tallied nine points and three rebounds. Stanley Francois scored six points and had six rebounds. Ryan Sheridan and Jose Uribe each finished with five points, while Brenden Nollett scored four points. Sean Michele rounded out the Lakers’ offense with three points.
"It feels good," Burridge said. "If I’m having an off night, then obviously we have a good cast that can pick up the slack. I know if I don’t have an open shot I can get it to them and they can put it in the basket and get the points. It actually makes you feel a little more relaxed knowing you don’t have to do everything out there. You have your teammates that can help contribute and put good numbers up for the team."
The Laker defense also limited opportunities for the Clarkson offense, holding them to a stifling 24.6 percent shooting night. The defense buckled down after halftime, allowing the Knights to shoot less than 20 percent from the floor and denying any chance for a comeback.
The Knights’ offense was led by Elson Pickering, who had 10 points on only 3-of-12 shooting from the floor. Brandon Linton and Felix Llanos each pitched in with nine points for the Knights. Clarkson also had trouble distributing the ball, as no player registered more than one assist in the game.
Heading into the half, the Lakers were up 29-24. Then, with 17:16 left in the second half, the Knights took a 34-33 lead, but the Lakers wasted no time as Francois regained the lead for them with a two-point basket. Francois put the Lakers up 35-34, and they would stay in control for the rest of the game.
"I thought we started competing a little bit more," Stockwell said. "You know they’re a good team and they’re going to make a run."
Oswego State (3-1) continues its non-conference play Friday, Dec. 4 against SUNY Brockport and then again Saturday, Dec. 5 as they host SUNY Geneseo.