BUFFALO, N.Y. – The Oswego State men’s basketball team (8-1, 5-0 SUNYAC) handed the 14th-ranked Buffalo State Bengals (6-1, 3-1) their first loss of the season in dominating fashion on Saturday, racing out to an early lead and staying in control for a 85-71 victory. The Lakers are now the lone SUNYAC team without a conference loss this season.
Buffalo State never led in the game as the Lakers, who were just outside the top 25 in the latest d3hoops.com national poll, forced 25 turnovers and shot 37 free throws before the game ended. The Bengals shot just 17 free throws in the game.
Hayden Ward (Jr., Montauk, N.Y.) scored 21 points to pace all scorers. It was the junior’s second 20-point performance in as many nights. Four other Lakers scored at least nine points, though, helping Oswego State earn its first double-digit lead of the game at 28-18 with over eight minutes left in the first half.
The lead grew to as much as 20 late in the half and stood at 48-30 at the break.
The Laker lead eventually swelled to 24 points in the second half. Buffalo State managed to cut into the lead in the closing stages of the game, but Oswego State never lost control as it moved into sole possession of first place in the SUNYAC.
Chad Burridge (Sr., Hannibal, N.Y.) finished with 19 points, five blocks and six rebounds, while Chris Gilkes (Jr., Syracuse, N.Y.) added 18 points. Conor Monaghan (Sr., Brooklyn, N.Y.) chipped in 11 points with Sean Michele (Sr., East Rochester, N.Y.) leading the team with seven assists and four steals to go along with nine points.
The Lakers will not play another conference game for over a month, but do host Cazenovia on Friday at Laker Hall in a non-conference tilt at 8 p.m.