Wyatt Cushman, Staff Writer |
This past week, the SUNYAC conference tournaments took place for our Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams here at SUNY Oneonta. Both teams came in looking to clinch an automatic berth to the Division III NCAA tournament, however each would find themselves on the losing end by the time the tournament was over.
Last Tuesday night, February 21, both teams played host in the quarterfinal round. The boys were up first as they took on SUNY Geneseo. By halftime, this one was all but over. Oneonta had built a 42-22 lead by intermission and won by a score of 89-73. Balanced scoring was the secret formula as the trio of Frankie Kelly, Mikey McElroy, and Lawrence Coleman combined for 62 points in the win. Coleman was the high man with 22 points.
Next up were the ladies, who like the men, came into the conference tournament as the number three seed. They took on SUNY Brockport who had upset on their minds all night long. This game featured 14 ties and 13 lead changes throughout but a late surge by Brockport propelled them to victory. They closed the game on a 15-4 run and eventually prevailed by a score of 70-64. The bright spot of the game for Oneonta was when Cara Adams scored her 200th career three-point field goal, becoming the only woman in program history to do so. The women finished the year with a record of 15-11, while the men headed to Oswego to take on Brockport in the semifinals.
The semifinals were held at SUNY Oswego, the tournament’s top seed. Oneonta took on SUNY Brockport in the first of two games that night, and once again they came out on top. The Red Dragons found themselves trailing for a good portion of the first half, including a nine-point deficit with a little over eight minutes to go in the opening period.
However, a 10-2 run provided them with a two-point advantage at the break. Oneonta never looked back from there, leading the entire second half, and winning by a score of 85-72. Lawrence Coleman was once again the story of the night, recording a double-double with 24 points and 16 rebounds in the win. Oneonta advanced to the SUNYAC Conference Championship game for the first time since 2010 to take on Oswego, who defeated Buffalo State in the other semifinal, 84-83 in overtime.
The finals on Saturday night were what both teams had been dreaming about all season long. Each hoped to earn an automatic berth to the NCAA tournament by the end of the night. Oneonta did not play the way they wanted to in the first half, digging themselves a 15-point deficit going into the locker-room. They clawed back in the second half, however, and trailed by only four with 2:55 remaining in the game. Then a Mikey McElroy jumper with 1:02 remaining once again brought the team within four points of the Lakers. Lawrence Coleman cut it to two with 16 seconds on the clock, but it was too little too late, as missed free throws by Oneonta and made free throws by Oswego gave the top seed a 75-70 win. The Men’s season came to an end, giving them an overall record of 17-11. Hats off to both the Men and Women’s teams on a great year.