Friday – Semifinals
Cortland (20-6) vs. Geneseo (14-12) – 6 p.m.
Oswego State (23-3) vs. Brockport (14-12) – 8 p.m.
Saturday – Final Round
Winner of Cortland/Geneseo vs. Winner of Oswego State/Brockport – 4 p.m.
OSWEGO, N.Y. – Following the Oswego State men’s basketball team’s quarterfinal win over New Paltz Tuesday night, the 14th-ranked Lakers will host the semifinal and final rounds of the State University of New York Athletic Conference Championships on Friday and Saturday at Max Ziel Gymnasium.
The first semifinal features No. 2-seed Cortland versus No. 3-seed Geneseo at 6 p.m. followed by No. 1-seed Oswego State against No. 4-seed Brockport. The winners of both contests square off at 4 p.m. in Saturday. Saturday’s winner will an automatic bid into the 2012 NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Tournament.
Tickets are $6 for adults and $3 for students with valid ID.
The Campus Center Box Office hours are 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday. It may be reached at (315) 312-3073. Online tickets may be purchased for each game at tickets.oswego.edu. Fans are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance.
Oswego State (23-3) closed out the regular season with the program’s first-ever undefeated conference schedule to earn the No. 1 seed for the second consecutive year under the direction of first-year head coach Jason Leone. Last season, the Lakers fell to Brockport in the semifinals, 74-70, but received an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament for the first time in the program’s 88-year history.
Oswego State had the top defense in the SUNYAC that limited opponents to a paltry 61.7 points per game, while also possessing the third-best offense in the league that averaged 75.6 points per game. The Lakers also paced the conference in field goal percentage at 48.8 percent and 3-point field goal percentage at 41.1 percent.
Three Oswego State starters are averaging double digits starting with 2011 SUNYAC Player of the Year senior Chad Burridge (16.0 ppg, 6.9 rpg, and 58 total blocks). Juniors Hayden Ward and Chris Gilkes average 15.7 and 10.2 points, respectively, while Ward is grabbing 8.9 boards per game and Gilkes is handing out 2.3 assists per game. The Lakers also have the top three-point shooter in Division III in Sean Michele, who is making 51.9 percent of his long-range attempts to go along with his 5.2 assists per contest.
Brockport (14-12) also enters the SUNYAC Semifinal riding a hot streak having won seven of its last eight games. The Golden Eagles are making their 13th straight tournament appearance, winning back-to-back titles in 2001 and 2002 before posting the biggest upset in tournament history winning the title in 2009 as the #8 seed. Last year, Brockport lost to Buffalo State in the title game by the score of 67-50.
The Golden Eagles have one of the most athletically talented squads in the league averaging 76.6 points and 35.8 rebounds per game, which each rank second among SUNYAC squads. Brockport likes to create opportunities for itself through its transition game as evident by averaging 14.6 assists per game.
The Golden Eagles are led on both ends of the court by senior Kyheem Green, who boasts a team-high 15.3 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. However, senior Gerald Williams and sophomore John Ivy are putting up double figures in the backcourt with 13.5 and 12.1 points per contest, respectively.
Oswego State swept the season series with 80-65 and 89-75 wins.
Cortland (20-6) finished the regular season with a conference mark of 14-4 to earn the No. 2 seed in the SUNYAC. The Red Dragons are making their 23rd SUNYAC tournament appearance in the last 24 years. Cortland won the league crown in 2000 and finished second in 1997, 1999 and 2001.
The Red Dragons finished the regular season with the second-best defense in league play holding opponents to 63.2 points per game, while also owning the second highest scoring margin (+8.1 points). This margin is due in large part to Cortland’s ability to block shots, hit three-pointers, and take care of the basketball. The Red Dragons led the conference with 4.1 blocks per contest, hit 36.0 percent of their long-range attempts (second in the SUNYAC), and committed nearly three fewer turnovers than their opponent.
Cortland is paced by junior Jesse Winter, who averages 15.1 points and 4.0 assists per game, and junior Brian Manning’s 13.3 points and 5.5 rebounds per contest.
Geneseo (14-12), which missed the tournament the last two years, has made the biggest jump in the standings earning a No. 3 seed for 2012. The Blue Knights advanced to the semifinal courtesy of a 60-49 win over Fredonia.
Geneseo boasts one of the best defenses in the league, surrendering 65.1 points per game. It is also one of the best rebounding teams, allowing just 29.7 boards for its opponents. The Blue Knights are also efficient with the second-best field goal percentage in the SUNYAC at 46.9 percent.
Junior Ryan Riefenhauser has done it all for Geneseo this season, as he leads the team in points (11.3 ppg), rebounds (6.8 rpg), and steals (28) and is second in assists (73). He is the only player to average double digits, but the Blue Knights have a balanced offense that has seen the next five scorers average 7.5 points or more, making it difficult for the opposition to key its defense on one player.
The teams split the season series with Cortland winning the first game, 64-51, and Geneseo winning the rematch by the score of 63-60.