OSWEGO, N.Y. – The top-seeded and 14th-ranked Oswego State men’s basketball team is just 40 minutes of basketball away from its first SUNYAC championship since the 1960s after edging fourth-seeded Brockport, 64-57, in the semifinals at Laker Hall Friday night.
Brockport (14-13) led just once in the second half, but trailed by only one with three minutes left in the game. The Lakers (24-3) milked the clock in the closing minutes before Ryan Sheridan (Sr., Blauvelt, N.Y.) drilled a three-pointer from the corner with 25 seconds left for a 61-55 lead, sealing the victory.
Sheridan led Oswego State with 15 points and hit four of the Lakers’ nine three-pointers in the contest.
The three-pointers for Oswego were key in the first half. Sean Michele (Sr., East Rochester, N.Y.), Hayden Ward (Jr., Montauk, N.Y.), Conor Monaghan (Sr., Brooklyn, N.Y.) and Chad Burridge (Hannibal, N.Y.) all hit three-pointers in the opening nine minutes of the game as the Lakers built a 18-10 lead, the largest of the game.
Foul trouble was already a factor early on. The Eagles’ second-leading scorer, Gerald Williams, played just six minutes and was held scoreless in the first half after he picked up his second foul less than four minutes into the game.
Brockport, which upset Oswego State last season in the tournament semifinals, was able to get back in the game, cutting the gap to 19-18 with a old-fashion three-point play with 7:16 left in the half.
However, the Lakers’ Brian Gebhardt (Sr., Fairport, N.Y.) came off the bench and hit a big three, helping the home team keep the lead throughout the half.
The 33-27 halftime lead could have been bigger, but the Lakers hit just five of 10 free throws, including two missed front-end bonus shots. Oswego State also outrebounded Brockport 25-13 in the first half, including ten boards on the offensive end.
The Golden Eagles opened the second half with a three-pointer and went on a 9-4 run to cut the lead to 37-36 with 12:20 left on the clock.
The two teams combined to miss their next nine field goal attempts before a free throw by Sheridan ended a four-minute scoreless drought.
A goaltending call on the other end tied the game at 38, but Burridge quickly got down the floor and had a huge dunk that brought the crowd to their feet and put the Lakers back in front.
Despite Sheridan’s second three-pointer of the game, the Golden Eagles went on a small run to take their only lead of the second half, 44-43, with 10:00 left to play.
The Lakers went back inside to Burridge again though and the senior put the Lakers up for good, starting a 7-0 run that ended with a very deep three by Sheridan.
Now up 50-44, Oswego State tried to slow the pace of the game down. However, Brockport was able to pound the ball inside and cut the lead to 56-55 with an offensive putback with three minutes left.
Ward, playing with four fouls, knocked down two free throws to push the lead back to three, but it was a rebound in traffic with one minute left that really swung momentum the Lakers’ way.
Sheridan followed the rebound with his final three-pointer before Sheridan and Michele hit late free throws to wrap up the 64-57 win.
In addition to Sheridan’s 15 points, Burridge added 14 points and 13 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the year. Monaghan had 11 points and four assists.
Brockport was led by John Ivy’s 16 points, while its leading scorer, Kyheem Green, finished with 11 and Williams with four.
The Lakers will next host second-seeded Cortland, a 68-59 winner over Geneseo, on Saturday at 4 p.m. Oswego State will be looking for their first SUNYAC title since 1964-65. Tickets will be on sale at 3 p.m.