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  • Mike Rose

Oneonta beats up Brockport, move into SUNYAC semifinals

By: Mike Rose

Brockport head coach Joe Clarke debating a foul call in Tuesday's loss. (Photo Credit: Brockport Athletics)

Brockport, NY -- The Brockport men's basketball team's season came to a close Tuesday night as the No. 6 seeded Oneonta Red Dragons pulled off a first-round SUNYAC playoff upset, 75-68. It was a fitting end to a season that was dominated by a lack of consistency from a young Golden Eagles team.

"They played to their strengths," Brockport head coach Joe Clarke said. "We just didn't match their physicality. Credit to them, they out-toughed us and we just didn't get it done."

Brockport's Tony Arnold, who played seven minutes in the second half before fouling out, was frustrated about his inability to help his team more due to the foul trouble.

"We could have been more physical tonight, we could've done a lot of things differently tonight," Arnold said. "This one stings since I had to watch from the sidelines most of the night. It just hurts."

Brockport's Caquan Wester finishing inside in the loss Tuesday. (Photo Credit: Brockport Athletics)

Early on the two teams went blow for blow. Brockport forward Jacob Oka dealt with early foul trouble as well, opening the door for Milo Scheve to star for the Golden Eagles. Scheve set a new career-high with 12 first-half points and grabbed six rebounds. Fellow frontcourt mate Caquan Wester scored 10 in the opening 20. On the other side, the stars from Oneonta kept them within striking distance.

Xavier Hill's layup with 20 seconds to play in the opening frame cut the deficit to just one at the break. Hill would record a first-half double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds, including six offensive rebounds. Meanwhile, the Red Dragons' leading scorer on the season Elijah Castillo had 11 in the opening 20. Out of the locker room, Oneonta took firm control of the ball game and never looked back.

Graham Wooden got the scoring started with the first bucket out of the break to give Oneonta a lead they would not relinquish the rest of the night. The Red Dragons outscored Brockport 26-11 in the opening 10 minutes of the second half and opened up as large as a 14-point lead. Wooden led the way, scoring 11 points in the run. Wooden went on to score 16 of his 18 points in the second-half surge.

Brockport would cut the margin down to six with five minutes to play but Oka and Tony Arnold both fouled out late. This forced Clarke to ride a trio of freshmen, Wester, Alex Tavarez and Nate Gordon in his closing lineup. Instead Wooden and Hill took over, combining for eight of the final 10 for Oneonta to slam the door shut.

Hill finished with 19 points and 19 rebounds on the night while Castillo added 15 points and six rebounds. As a team Oneonta would secure 19 offensive rebounds in the game, continuing its domination in the category that they led the SUNYAC in during the regular season with over 15 per game.

On the night Oneonta's trio of leading scorers entering the contest combined for 52 points and 31 rebounds. Clarke praised the three for the challenges they presented the Brockport defense.

"They were just going by and we allowed easy catches where they wanted to get the ball," Clarke said. "They just got to their spots and those three, Castillo, Wooden, Hill, when they get to their spots they're really good, credit to them."

Brockport's Danny Ashley (#10) and Tony Arnold (#0) helping up Jacob Oka (#24) in Tuesday's loss. (Photo Credit: Brockport Athletics)

With the loss, Brockport's run as members of the SUNYAC also ends as the Golden Eagles will compete as members of the Empire 8 conference next season. Brockport will return all but one player from this year's team, fifth-year forward Tyler Cowie, and also have Mehki Beckett and Colby Jordan back in the lineups after both missed most of the season due to injury. Arnold expects his team to bounce back next season.

"This is a winning program so we just want to win," Arnold said. " When I transferred here I came to be a part of winning and contribute to winning. It hasn't happened for me yet but I trust God, I trust my teammates and coaches and I know it's gonna happen eventually."

With the win, Oneonta advances into the semifinals of the SUNYAC playoffs Friday which will be hosted at Oswego State. Brockport finishes its final SUNYAC season with a record of 16-9 and 12-7 in conference play.

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