By Brian Savard
ONEONTA – A 16-point halftime lead helped the State University of New York at New Paltz men’s basketball team (6-7, 3-3 SUNYAC) hold off SUNY Oneonta (2-10, 1-5 SUNYAC) on Saturday afternoon in State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) action at Dewar Arena, as the Hawks prevailed, 79-70.
Senior guard/forward Shereef Taylor led the Hawks with 18 points, while freshman forward Deveino McRae shot 7-of-7 from the floor on his way to compiling 17 points. Senior forward Matt Devine poured in 14 points, while junior guard/forward Taylor Sowah scored a season-high-tying 12 coming off the bench. McRae grabbed a game-high eight rebounds, while Taylor took a game-high four steals.
For Oneonta, Zach Mager netted a game-high 26 points, while Jackson Zuvic scored 14. Frankie Kelly dished out a game-high five assists.
The Hawks shot 54.3 percent from the field in the first half en route to hitting 48.4 percent of its shots total from the floor. Oneonta was helped by 85.7 percent (12-of-14) shooting from the line for the game, but the Hawks controlled the glass by a 35-28 margin.
After Oneonta hopped out to a 6-3 lead, New Paltz went on a 6-0 tear, and back-to-back layups by Taylor and McRae gave the Hawks a three-point advantage. Both teams battled back and forth until a 9-0 New Paltz spurt staked the visiting team to a 29-18 lead at 6:47 of the first half. The Hawks rode that run into the break, as they took a 46-30 advantage into the locker room.
A 15-4 Oneonta run midway through the second half helped change the complexion of the contest. A Jack Dignan bucket brought the Red Dragons within three points of the Hawks at 57-54. Dignan hit a three-pointer with 2:44 remaining in regulation to make it a two-point game, and after a New Paltz basket, Mager scored on a layup to draw Oneonta back within two once again. The Hawks then closed the game on a 7-0 run, and a made free throw by Devine with 30 seconds remaining sealed the victory.
The Hawks square off with SUNY Plattsburgh on Friday, January 18th, at 8 p.m. before taking on SUNY Potsdam on Saturday, January 19th.