SUNY New Paltz Crushes SUNY Geneseo, 87-54

By Jake Carapella

NEW PALTZ – The State University of New York (SUNY) at New Paltz men’s basketball team completed an 84-54 win demolition of SUNY Geneseo on Saturday at the Hawk Center to improve to 10-6 overall on the season and 7-3 in the SUNYAC. It was their fifth win in six games, and in the process they broke a tie with the Knights, who were also 6-3 in the conference going into Saturday.

“Anytime you get beat by a team, you want to beat them again,” said Hawks head coach Keith Kenney about an opposing squad that defeated his team with a buzzer-beating three on Jan. 7. “We did know if we won today, we could move up in the standings.”

Now with seven victories, SUNY New Paltz is tied with SUNY Oneonta, and trails only SUNY Oswego, who are 9-0 and ranked 25th in the country.

The Hawks, who shot 57% and held their opposition to a poor 28% from the field and 24% from three Saturday, made sure there would be no suspenseful finish this time. The convincing win over their conference opponent was triggered on the offensive end and grounded in solid defensive play.

“We were just locked in,” said Kenney. “We needed a defensive performance like that.”
Rylan Blondo, who scored 19 points on seven-for-13 shooting, was again the catalyst offensively. The guard was aggressive early, attacking the paint and getting to the line, scoring nine of SUNY New Paltz’s first 15 points as they took an eight point lead early as SUNY Geneseo struggled shooting the ball.

The Hawks played tight and energetic defense, led by forward Isaiah Bien-Aise, who did a great job in making Knights’ big man Michael Gannon, who came into the contest as the leading scorer in the SUNYAC at 18.6 points per game and also 7.4 rebounds, work for everything. Bien-Aise, who finished with five points and five rebounds, did a great job crowding the six foot, six inch sophomore, and held him to just 10 points on three-for-14 shooting.

Once again, Tyreik Frazier provided a spark off the bench, continuing to make life difficult for Gannon and six foot, six inch Jackson Gonseth just as Bien-Aise did. In one sequence, Frazier blocked a jumper from Harrison Dignan, who scored eight points on the evening, and then stuffed the ball home with two hands at the other end to give SUNY New Paltz a 21-10 lead with 9:57 to go in the first half. It was the most emphatic of his 14 points. He was a perfect seven-for-seven from the field and finished with a team-high eight rebounds.

RJ Meyers-Turner provided more strong play off the bench, as did freshman Dakoda Smith. Meyers-Turner had five points in a matter of minutes to extend the home team lead to their biggest of the half, 26-11. He finished the game with seven points. Smith, meanwhile, came in with great energy, blocking shots, rebounding and drawing a charge, and dunking off a Meyers-Turner pass that again put the Hawks up 15, 32-17. SUNY Geneseo was able to get the deficit back to 10 when Grabowski, who otherwise had a rough shooting night as he made just two of nine shots and did not hit any of his four three-point attempts, connected on a jumper. Bien-Aise and Brandon Scott buckets gave SUNY New Paltz a 36-24 halftime lead. Scott finished the game with six points, making all three of his field goal attempts.

Sean St. Lucia and Blondo got the Hawks off to a hot start in the second half, as Blondo found his backcourt mate for a three to extend the lead to 15. St. Lucia then on an ensuing possession got into the paint, took a bump and flicked the ball up with his right hand for two of his 10 points in the game, giving his team a 41-24 advantage. Blondo then finished off a St. Lucia miss, and St. Lucia returned the favor with a back-door feed to Blondo that made the score 45-28.

A highlight moment occurred moments later, when Blondo fed a trailing Lucas Seyoum on a break, with the wingman finishing with a thunderous right hand jam. Seyoum then finished with his right hand on the ensuing possession that put SUNY New Paltz up 49-30 with 15 minutes to play. The six foot, five inch forward scored six points in the game.

The Hawks took to that point their biggest lead of the game when Fraizer hit a jump hook in the lane to push the lead to 25, 57-32. Smith, who scored six points and also contributed four rebounds, converted a layup after stealing the ball that put SUNY New Paltz up by 27, 69-42.

“Dakoda is a great kid to coach,” said Kenney. “He’s instant energy, he’s positive every day. He defends and plays every game like it’s his last.”

Meyers-Turner scored in a pretty left-hand layup coming from the baseline to extend the lead to 29. Blondo again made it 29, 73-44, with a mid-range jumper to finish off his day. In addition to his game-high 19 points, he had six rebounds.

“Rylan gets better every week,” said Kenney. “He’s the best guard in the league in my opinion. You always know what you’re getting from him. He’s always going to compete, always going to attack. It’s fun to see him blossom. He deserves it.”

Never in danger after the first 20 minutes of play, the Hawks outscored the Knights 48-30 in the second half in what was their biggest win of the season and a welcomed result after losing in such a heartbreaking way to the same team just two weeks ago. Their biggest margin of victory previously was a 96-77 win over SUNY Plattsburgh on Dec. 4.

Kenney was able to empty his bench, finishing the game with freshmen Philip La Rosa, Matt McCabe, Alex Krupinski and Luca Sanna on the floor. Krupinski scored four points, while La Rosa scored three and graduate student Jackson Vertucci two.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email