FREDONIA N.Y. – The Oswego State men’s basketball team trailed by as much as 13 in the first half and led by as many as seven midway through the second half, but held to hang on for a 76-71 win at Fredonia on Friday. The Lakers remained undefeated in SUNYAC play heading into Saturday afternoon’s showdown with 14th-ranked Buffalo State.
Chris Gilkes (Jr., Syracuse, N.Y.), who had his best game of the season, gave the Lakers (7-1, 4-0 SUNYAC) the lead for good with just over four minutes to play at 65-64, but it was Gilkes’ assist to Ryan Sheridan (Sr., Blauvelt, N.Y.) for a lay-up with 28 seconds left that sealed the victory. The play extended the Laker lead from one to three before free throws rounded out the scoring.
Gilkes tied his career-high with 23 points in the game, including an 11-of-14 effort at the free throw line. He also added nine rebounds and a career-high four assists.
Hayden Ward (Jr., Montauk, N.Y.) also finished with a career-high 22 points and four assists to go along with seven rebounds and three steals.
Early in the game, the Blue Devils (6-3, 1-2) broke a 5-5 tie with 11-0 run on their home floor. However, Ward and Gilkes combined to score the Lakers’ last nine points of the first half to the lead to 36-33 by halftime.
A three-pointer by Ward and free throws by Gilkes highlighted a 7-0 run to open the second half, putting the Lakers in front for the first time since the opening minutes of the game.
Oswego State’s lead grew to 47-40, its largest of the game, with 15 minutes left to play, but the Blue Devils were able to keep the game within reach by hitting five more three-pointers in the game than the Lakers.
However, Oswego State scored 10 of its last 13 points in the paint to finish off the victory. The Lakers outscored Fredonia, 25-9, in the paint during the game.
Chad Burridge (Sr., Hannibal, N.Y.) finished with 19 points and three blocks, while Conor Monaghan (Sr., Brooklyn, N.Y.) led the team with five assists and added three blocks as well.
The Lakers continue their weekend road trip on Saturday afternoon with a first-place battle with Buffalo State (6-0, 3-0). Both teams were ranked in the D3hoops.com pre-season poll. The Bengals have moved up to No. 14 in the current poll and topped Cortland 85-76 on Friday.