Despite a sluggish start to open the game, the Oswego State men’s basketball team was able to come together and overcome an early deficit to defeat The College at Brockport, 95-83.
The Lakers put an exclamation point on their last home game of the season, thanks to the leadership of the lone senior on the squad, guard Daniel Ross.
“We started out a little slow and we calmed ourselves down after a quick timeout by coach,” Ross said. “And I told them we can play with these guys we’ve been playing with the best teams in the conference all year. Some outcomes haven’t been the best for us, but we know we are one of the best teams in this conference.”
Ross led the Lakers with a game-high 28 points and knocked down 16-of-22 attempts from the charity stripe. He also recorded a game-high 14 rebounds, which was critical for the Lakers, who were looking to keep the Golden Eagles on their heels for the majority of the contest by getting the fast break going throughout the game.
The offensive punch off the bench was critical in Oswego State’s victory. This can be credited to freshman guard Matt Crockett, who did most of his damage on the perimeter, going 3-for-5 from three-point range. Sophomore Walter Sampson also contributed off the bench, shooting 100 percent from the field en route to notching 11 points.
In the first period, the Lakers held Brockport to just 37.9 percent shooting from the field and built an 11-point lead going into the half.
Brockport opened up the second half on a 6-0 run to cut the deficit to five. But the Lakers relied on their senior guard’s leadership and passion, as Ross scored 13 second-half points, 11 of which came from the free-throw line.
The Lakers continued to hold the lead, as they were able to keep Brockport at bay with their relentless aggression to get to the basket. Oswego State played smart and fast-paced basketball, which was key to its victory.
Freshman Keith Tyson started for Oswego State and showed he has a bright future with the Lakers after recording a double-double with 13 points and 11 boards.
“I play with energy and passion and that is definitely something I pride myself on is to go out there and get boards,” Tyson said. “I just try to give my team a little added spark off the bench, but I got the start today.”
Other contributions came from Kyle Covley, who had an efficient night, shooting 66 percent from the field and finishing the night with nine points. Rashawn Powell added nine points and seven boards.
The Lakers proved to be efficient on the offensive end, shooting 45.6 percent from the field and an incredible 44.4 percent from beyond the arc. On the defensive end, Oswego State held the Golden Eagles to just 18.2 percent shooting from three-point range.
Brockport’s poor long-range shooting can be credited to the Lakers’ strong defensive affinity that was focused on stopping the deep ball all night, including a run in the first half in which Brockport did not knock down any long-range shots (0-for-4) against a stingy Lakers defense.
The win improves the Lakers’ record to 15-9 (9-8 SUNYAC) and gives the team some much-needed separation in the playoff picture. Currently, SUNY Oneonta is the No. 4 seed and Oswego State is tied with SUNY Cortland for the No. 5 spot in the conference at 9-8.
This weekend, the Lakers play SUNY Cortland in a critical matchup with playoff seeding implications. If Oswego State wins this Saturday and Oneonta loses one of its last two, Oswego State will host a playoff game Tuesday.
Heading into this weekend’s matchup versus Cortland, Keith Tyson said the team is going to continue doing what it has done all year.
“Play hard. We’ve got to come in there with a good attitude, because if you don’t go in there and play hard it’s going to be tough,” Tyson said.
Oswego State will finish off its regular season on Saturday night at SUNY Cortland 14-10 (9-8 SUNYAC). Tip-off is set for 4 p.m. at Whitney T. Corey Gymnasium.