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Brockport blitzes past Oneonta, wins fifth straight  

Caquan Wester scored a career-high 19 points and grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds in the win. (Photo Credit: Myles Goddard/Brockport Athletics)

The Joe Clarke era continued to produce winning results for Brockport men’s basketball, this time at home for the first time this season. The Golden Eagles took down the Oneonta Red Dragons 87-76 in their home opener Friday night. 

Despite being without leading scorer Mekhi Beckett, Brockport rode a balanced scoring attack, suffocating defense and hot three-point shooting to the victory. It was the fifth straight win for the Golden Eagles after dropping the season opener. 

“It’s a marathon, not a sprint,” Brockport head coach Joe Clarke said. “I would’ve liked to win that one, who wants to lose, but going into that next week it was just getting better and focusing on us. We’ve been doing that each day and each week and trying but we’re still not there. Hopefully, we’re there at the end of January and end of February but we’re going to continue to coach them hard and push them.” 

Brockport has certainly seemed to hit its stride since then. After blowing past Keystone College and rattling three straight one-possession wins, they put together one of the most complete performances of the season. 

“We tried to make a statement today and come out here and win by a large margin,” forward Caquan Wester said. “Try to blow them out of the gym, run them out of the gym. That’s what we do, that’s Brockport basketball.” 

Wester, a freshman, has already made his mark on the Golden Eagles lineup. He was thrust into the starting lineup for the second game in a row and he delivered. Wester scored a team-high 19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for his first collegiate double-double. 

“Just working over the summer with my teammates and building that trust with them so when we got into the games everything felt normal and is just fun,” Wester said. 

“I think each game he has played and showed us something he’s expanded it the next day,” Clarke said. “He’ll continue to get better but his ability to play inside and out, shoot the ball, handle it is why we recruited him and he’ll continue to get better.” 

Beyond Wester, Brockport’s bench unit carried a major load, scoring 44 of the 87 points. Jevonny Brown, Alex Taverez and Zach Rice all posted double-digit scoring efforts off the bench combined for 39 points and six three-pointers. Overall on the night, Brockport drilled 12 from distance. That mark was the most by a Golden Eagles team since a January 2022 win against Potsdam. 

“Going into the season we wanted to fix our depth and shooting,” Clarke said. We thought we could come in and play 11-12 guys and hopefully, we thought that would wear teams out. Eventually, guys are going to make plays and they did tonight so I’m proud of those guys.  

“I thought we did a good job of getting inside the paint and finding guys,” Clarke said. “We’ve been really working with our lead guards to just create for others and it hasn’t shown in games until today.” 

Out of the gates, Oneonta jumped out to a 5-0 advantage in the opening four minutes. Brockport responded with a 24-4 run to take control of the game and they never seized it. A chippy first half came to a close with the Golden Eagles on top 39-26 and the Red Dragons shooting just 24 percent from the floor. 

Oneonta opened the second half on a 10-2 run to get back in the game. Javen Flowers-Smith did all he could to create offense for the Red Dragons scoring seven of his game-high 23 points in the opening four minutes of the second half. The Golden Eagles maintained modest separation until a 19-6 run pushed the margin out to 19 with just over four minutes to play. From there the result was never in doubt again. 

Brown finished with 17 points and eight rebounds on the night while Rice and Tavarez each scored 11. Tony Arnold also cracked double figures scoring 10 points. 

Brockport moves to 5-1 overall on the season and opens its final season of SUNAYC play 1-0. The Golden Eagles will look to sweep the weekend home stand when they take on the New Paltz Hawks (4-1) with tip-off scheduled for 4 p.m. at The Vlog.

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Mike Rose, Sports Editor
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