It has been eight months since Oswego State men’s basketball last played on their home floor of Max Ziel Gymnasium. Last time they did, it was an 83-80 victory over SUNY Oneonta that gave the Lakers their third SUNYAC Title in a six-year span.
Now, both teams meet again for the first time this season and the Lakers first home game since the championship victory.
As every conference matchup has plenty on the line, both team’s will be coming out with a little bit of an edge. The obvious for SUNY Oneonta is avenging last season as they watched the Lakers move on to the NCAA Championship and miss out on an at-large bid.
For the Lakers, they are off to their worst start as a program since the year 2000 at 1-4. They did give a dangerous SUNY Cortland team on the road Saturday a run for their money, but fell 77-70 to drop to 0-1 in SUNYAC play.
The Lakers will rely on working through their guards to carry the scoring load. After struggling to shoot in their first three losses, senior guard Ian Schupp will be a key factor to the game going up against his former team.
Schupp has been heating up as he nailed seven 3-pointers against SUNY Cortland on Saturday. Big games are what Schupp thrives off and his old teammates on SUNY Oneonta likely have not forgotten the 22-points he dropped on them in the SUNYAC Championship.
Point-guard Liam Sanborn is coming off an eight assists and no turnovers performance on Saturday in their loss to SUNY Cortland. His distribution of the ball will be important and it will be interesting to see how he sets up the Lakers leading scorer Jamir Ferebee on the wing and center Tyler Pierre in the post.
The Red Dragons offensively have been up and down so far this season in their 4-2 start. They are coming off a big display of scoring in their win against the College at Brockport and have plenty of options to utilize.
SUNY Oneonta work with scorers by committee, with three players averaging double-figures and five total players averaging eight points per game or better. Dwayne Freeman and Kevin Mackin lead the Red Dragons scoring attack and both are a threat from 3-point land.
Despite struggles on the defensive end, the Lakers played more quality defense on the road Saturday and have something to work off of.
HOME SWEET HOME
After opening the season with five road games, the Lakers are finally back home where they dominate, especially in SUNYAC matchups. The Lakers were 14-2 at home last season and 9-0 against SUNYAC opponents at home as well (including playoffs).
SUNY Oneonta was 5-7 on the road last season, but are 2-1 so far after splitting their opening weekend of SUNYAC with a loss to SUNY Geneseo.
Both teams are hungry and talented. Despite what the records may say, this will be an evenly matched game and could easily come down to the wire.
The Lakers will come out with a new energy for their home opener and will feed off the home crowd as they always do. Expect head coach Jason Leone to find opportunities for his players that will result in double-digit scoring efforts from the Ferebee, Schupp and Pierre trio as they look to turn the ship around.
Oswego State defeats SUNY Oneonta 82-78.