By: Dylan O’Loughlin
Oswego, NY — The Brockport Golden Eagles men’s basketball team returned to action today, facing a familiar foe in the rematch of last year’s SUNYAC championship as they traveled to take on the Oswego State Lakers. The firepower of the Lakers was too much though, as in the end Brockport fell 78-68.
Photo Credits: GoBrockport.com
You couldn't have scripted a better first half for Brockport. A new lineup focused more on offense gave Brockport the chance to start fast, running with the freshman Nathaniel Gordon and junior guard Danny Ashley for a more offensive focus. They were able to spread the wealth well. Thanks to the ball handling of Brockport guard Tony Arnold, he was able to get his teammates open and they hit their shots. Arnold led the way with 9 points at the end of the first, Gordon had 7, and center Caquan Wester had 7 points, with one of his buckets coming from behind the arc.
Even with a great offensive performance in the first half they still found themselves down by five to the Lakers. The veterans of Oswego State who have always given Brockport problems continued to give them the same problems. After one, Oswego State forward Cartier Bowman had 13 points and 4 rebounds, leaving right where he left off in the championship last year where he had 15 points and 13 rebounds. Along with that, Oswego’s leading scorer, guard Jeremiah Sparks had his impact as well as he had 9 points all coming from three as he shot 3-7 from the three-point line. Oswego forward Jamal Achille also had 9 points to go along with the scoring in the first. It was a very even matchup as both teams were efficient shooting from the field, Brockport 49% while Oswego shot 56%. This would give the Lakers a 43-38 lead hedging into the break.
In the second half, the young talent took over for Brockport. Led by Wester, Brockport was able to cut a 14-point deficit to just 5 at one point. But first, they ended up down 14 in the first place thanks to the dominance of Sparks and Bowman.
Sparks stopped settling for threes and started driving to the rack making tough layups and mid-range jumpers over the smaller Ashley who got the duties of guarding the offensive star. He would finish with 19 points on 8-18 shooting. Bowman would stay technical in the post getting Brockport defenders off their feet for easy shots. He finished with 18 points and 14 rebounds. Achille finished with 12 points and Oswego guard Ahkee Anderson finished with 9 points after having 0 in the first half.
Even with all that scoring though, Brockport still had a chance. Wester was the main catalyst. He was efficient throughout the second half as he finished with 16 points and 7 rebounds while shooting 6-7 from the field and 4-5 from three.
“I work on my shot all the time,” Wester said. “And being 6’8, I want to be able to not only play inside but be able to spread the floor.”
To go along with that, the young legs and defense of Gordon and Brockport freshman guard Alex Tavarez caused Oswego to turn the ball over 12 times this game. Gordon would finish with 10 points on 50% shooting and 3 steals while Tavarez finished with 14 points while being 7-9 from the field and recording a steal.
While Brockport’s defense was giving the Lakers some trouble, the Lakers' defense was doing the same to them. The Golden Eagles finished the game with 13 turnovers on the game and got outrebounded 41-31 which ultimately cost them the game. Both teams shot 28-61 from the field which is 46% and Brockport shot better from three as they shot 37% to Oswego’s 26%.
“The best basketball that we played all year,” Wester said. “I think we need to just keep building off of this game and we need to be hungrier. So, I think there’s going to be a good rest of the season and I hope to see them again, which we will.”
The Brockport Golden Eagles now fall to 5-4 on the season while Oswego continues to keep their conference win streak alive and improve to 9-1. The Golden Eagles can take a lot away from this game to learn from as they are right back at it tomorrow January 6th at Cortland.