The Oswego State men’s basketball team used a strong offensive performance from Daniel Ross and stifling team defense to secure a 60-41 victory over SUNY Cortland on Senior Night at Max Ziel Gymnasium on Saturday.
The win improves the Lakers’ record to 14-7 (8-6 SUNYAC) and gives the team a boost in the conference standings, while the Red Dragons fall to 12-9 (7-7 SUNYAC) on the season.
Ross, the Lakers’ lone senior, paced Oswego State’s offense with 26 points, including 15 points on 60 percent shooting in the first half.
Ross’ 15 points in the half nearly matched Cortland’s total offensive output – 16 points – in the opening period.
The Red Dragons’ trouble can be credited to the Lakers’ strong defensive play. Oswego State was active on defense and wreaked havoc in the passing lanes, forcing five first half turnovers.
The Lakers held Cortland to just 21.4 percent shooting in the opening 20 minutes of play and built a nine-point lead by halftime.
The squad’s defensive performance is reminiscent of its 78-49 win against SUNY Potsdam earlier this season, when the Lakers held the Bears to just 16 first-half points
Oswego State continued to attack in the second half and kept a big lead intact for the duration of the final 20 minutes. After a quiet first half, sophomore Elijah McLaurin attacked the rim and went to the free-throw line six times en route to an eight-point half.
The guard finished the game with 11 points, second on the team behind Ross, and added four assists.
Sophomore guard Kyle Covley also had a strong second half, recording five points and four assists in just 13 minutes. Covley finished with eight points and five assists on the night.
Oswego State continued to play sound team defense and held Cortland to just one double-digit scorer, T.J. Hefele, who finished with 10.
Lamard Herron added nine for the Red Dragons and Kevin McMahon finished with 10 rebounds in the loss.
Ross, though not as dominant as he was in the first half, added 11 second-half points. He finished the night with 26 points while knocking down nine of his 17 shots from the field. Ross also had an efficient game from beyond the arc, sinking four of five three-point shots.
The Lakers continued to build their lead in the second half, going up by as much as 24 points with just over a minute remaining. Cortland scored six of the game’s final seven points, but there was not enough time to mount a comeback, as Oswego State secured the 60-41 win.
The Lakers are set for a road trip this weekend, as they will take on two SUNYAC opponents. Oswego State is traveling to Potsdam for a Friday night game against the Bears before Saturday’s showdown with SUNY Plattsburgh.
The Lakers will return to Oswego for their final home game of the season on Feb. 18 on Faculty and Staff Appreciation Day when they will host The College at Brockport. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m.
The squad will complete its season four days later when the Lakers look for another victory against Cortland.