ONEONTA – The State University of New York at New Paltz men’s basketball team was unable to match SUNY Oneonta’s offensive efficiency in a State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) game Friday night at Dewar Arena, as the host Red Dragons shot 51.7 percent (31-of-60) from the floor en route to posting an 87-75 victory over the Hawks.
New Paltz fell behind early due to 35.3 percent (12-of-34) shooting from the floor in the first half, but the Hawks turned things around coming out of the locker room, hitting 53.6 percent (15-of-28) of their shots in the second half. Oneonta, meanwhile, was steady in both halves offensively, and the Red Dragons compounded matters by turning 13 New Paltz turnovers into 15 points.
New Paltz drops to 6-17 overall and 3-13 in the SUNYAC. The Hawks are idle from competition for a week until they face conference-leading The College at Brockport on Friday, Feb. 21, at 8 p.m. in Brockport, N.Y. Oneonta keeps its SUNYAC playoff hopes alive with the win, moving to 11-11 overall and 9-7 in the SUNYAC. The Red Dragons next face SUNY Geneseo on Friday, Feb. 21, at 8 p.m. in Geneseo, N.Y.
New Paltz hopped out to a 5-0 lead in the early goings, getting a pair of made free throws from sophomore forward Kevin Roach and a three-pointer from sophomore guard Keegan Donovan to start the game. Oneonta, however, responded with an 8-0 spurt, which was capped off with a dunk by sophomore forward Mikey McElroy with 17:16 to go in the first half. Oneonta slowly built up a cushion and led by as many as 13 in the first half. A three-pointer by sophomore guard Jack Dignan with nine seconds left in the first half provided the halftime margin of 44-31.
Oneonta kept its foot on the gas for the first five minutes of the second stanza, but a 6-0 Hawk run that was highlighted by an old-fashioned three-point play by junior guard/forward Taylor Sowah with 14:29 remaining in regulation brought New Paltz within single digits (53-44). The Hawks were unable to draw any closer than that the rest of the way, and the Red Dragons led by double digits down the entirety of the stretch to post the SUNYAC victory.
Donovan paced the Hawks offensively with 15 points, while sophomore forward Alex Perlman added a career-high 14 on 6-of-10 shooting from the floor coming off the bench. Graduate student guard Nick Taldi and Roach added 10 points apiece, while Roach fell just short of a double-double with nine rebounds.
McElroy netted a game-high 32 points on an efficient 10-of-14 shooting night from the field, and he also went 9-of-11 from the line. Junior guard Zach Mager chipped in with 19 points to round out the Red Dragons’ double-digit scorers. Junior forward Larry Brink blocked a game-high three shots in 17 minutes coming off the bench.