The Oswego State Lakers fell to the SUNY Oneonta Red Dragons 46-38 on Tuesday night. The loss left the Lakers winless in the SUNYAC conference, and also served as their third-straight loss this season. Courtney Ameele and Raiven Encarnacion led the Lakers with 13 points each. Ameele also led the team with two steals.
After the 68-54 loss to SUNY Cortland on Dec. 2, head coach Sean Pinkerton knew he had a tough game coming up against the Red Dragons. SUNY Oneonta was then 1-1 in the SUNYAC, with a loss to SUNY Geneseo, who is arguably the best team in the conference. However, they were coming off of a recent win to The College at Brockport.
“[Oneonta’s] a very, very good basketball team, they played [New York University] in a really tight game, they’ve beaten some really strong opponents,” Pinkerton said. “We knew that playing a team like Oneonta we had to come in an play mistake-free basketball to have a chance to be in the ball game at the end.”
All was well in the early in the game, where the Lakers took an 11-4 lead with 2:56 left in the opening quarter. However, that would eventually be stopped as the Red Dragons tied the game at 13 apiece to end the quarter. The dominant run would continue into the second quarter, as well.
The Lakers would not score again until Encarnacion added her fifth point of the night with a layup with 4:02 left in the half. Oswego State trailed the Red Dragons 20-15 at that point.
“Defensively, we held them to 46 points, what hurt us there was the offensive boards. They were getting too many looks at the basket,” Pinkerton said. “We defended well, we finished possession with defensive boards. But when they’re getting to the middle of the floor, they’re getting higher percentage shots. They were creating put-back opportunities. We had to protect the middle of the floor, we didn’t, and it showed.”
Another problem that arose for the Lakers was their passing in the second quarter. Numerous cross-court passes, and passes with no intended target were easily taken away by the Red Dragons. With the Lakers racking up 21 turnovers, the Red Dragons scored 14 points off of the turnover.
“It was poor decision making, passes we don’t need to be throwing,” Pinkerton said. “We have to do a better job of taking care of the ball, and that’s been an emphasis all season. It’s something where we definitely need to get better. It’s a focus of ours to get rid of the unforced turnovers.”
Oswego State was able to keep the game close, however, at the half. The Red Dragons only had a two point lead over the Lakers. However, in the third quarter, SUNY Oneonta started to control the game.
Despite tying the game in the early minutes, the Lakers let up six-straight points and never regained the lead. The Red Dragons would eventually outscore the Lakers 16-9 in the quarter, to take a 38-29 lead. Pinkerton said he talked to the team about being more efficient, between the third and fourth quarter.
“We had too many disconnects in terms of positioning on the floor and we took way too long to initiate on the offensive end,” Pinkerton said. “On the defensive end, they were getting too many paint touches. We had a couple times where the guards went out of position, and it’s just too easy to score from where they usually are.”
While the Lakers did outscore the Red Dragons 9-8 in the final quarter, it was not enough to overcome a large deficit they had fallen into. The closest Oswego State got was within five points.
Without any fouls in the last minute, Pinkerton decided to be aggressive and go after the ball. He was hoping to create more turnovers to have some sort of chance.
“We really had nothing to lose at that point,” Pinkerton said. “If we can get two or three buckets off of repeated turnovers, then great.”
The Lakers, now 2-6 overall with an 0-2 SUNYAC record, look to face Buffalo State later in the week. The Bengals are 5-3 overall, and coming off a four-game win streak. They are also undefeated in the SUNYAC standings. Pinkerton is hoping to push the things they really need to improve on during the couple day of practice.
“Focusing on the defensive rotation, doing a better job in the zone, eliminating unforced turnovers,” Pinkerton said. “We really don’t look ahead. I have not watched a second of film on Buffalo State yet. I will do that maybe tonight and definitely tomorrow. It’s just taking one day of practice and trying to effectively practice for what they’re going to do against us.”
The Lakers and the Bengals face each other at Buffalo on Dec. 8 with a 5:30 p.m. tip-off. The Lakers will be looking for their first SUNYAC win of the year, while the Bengals will be looking to remain unblemished in the standings.