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Golden Eagles topple Knights

Zach Rice on the drive in Brockport’s win on Saturday. (Photo Credit: Liam Hoffmann)

SUNYACs are up next for the Brockport Golden Eagles after a win on senior night, defeating the Geneseo Knights 68-65. Brockport ended the season on a high note after two losses last weekend. They’ll roll into the SUNYAC playoffs as the No. 3 seed. 

Tyler Cowie was the lone senior Golden Eagle honored before the game. Unfamiliar faces in the starting lineup included Cowie, as well as Zachary Rice. Saturday marked the first start since Dec. 5 of last year for either player.  

Cowie made his presence known when he scored the first 3-pointer of the contest. Also in the early stages, Jacob Oka’s weight advantage versus Geneseo’s big men made him highly impactful down low in the first 20 minutes. He ended half one with three offensive boards and four total which were both high marks for Brockport.  

“He doesn’t look big but he’s strong, he’s physical, and he knows how to use his body,” Brockport head coach Joe Clarke said. 

As for the Knights, their game plan revolved around finding the open shooter and firing threes. The ball whipped around as they frequently went with a five-out look. More often than not, those shots came from the corners. Brockport’s defense was more keen on protecting the top of the arc. 

“They’re a really good offensive half-court team,” Clarke said. “That’s what they do as far as just movement; cutting and then finding that extra pass or the open guy, so we knew we had to keep the initial guy in front.” 

Though Cowie led Brockport in scoring for much of half one on the back of his two treys, it was Caquan Webster who ended the period with seven and the most among the Golden Eagles. Wester relinquished his spot in the starting lineup to the senior Cowie but brought an offensive spark off the bench as he hit a three along with two inside baskets. For Geneseo, Robert Percolosi drained a pair of three-balls and a two-pointer that amounted to a team-leading eight points at the break.  

Clarke called timeout with just over ten minutes left in the first half. Coming out of it, Jevonny Brown ripped a steal and turned it into a lay-up on the other end that tied the game at 19-19. After a Percolosi hook shot on the other end, Brown came right back down and scored another inside basket, this time drawing a foul and an and-one opportunity. 

Despite this foul, the whistles stayed away for the greater part of half number one. Geneseo didn’t make a single one of its two first-half free throw attempts. Alex Tavarez, however, went 2-for-2 at the charity stripe for Brockport. Brown converted his lone free-throw try and Oka split his two attempts. Those accounted for all the free throws taken in half-one. 

In the second half, both teams chose to up the pace. This resulted in worse ball control. 

“We had to grab up the 50/50 balls,” Oka said. “That’s all we had to do.” 

Tony Arnold controlled the ball on Brockport’s offensive end for much of the second half. While he shot inefficiently from the field, his ball control and communication on the court was instrumental. He did convert on 3-of-4 free throw tries in the latter 20 which contributed to his five points. 

Michael Gentile’s three-pointer for Geneseo made the score 49-49 with just under 10 minutes left in the game. Alex Tavarez then led a Brockport 13-2 run, scoring seven. The scoreboard reached 62-51 before Josh Garelle and Percolosi led Geneseo on a run of their own. The pair were responsible for nine straight Geneseo points that drew things close. 

With one minute left, Garelle hit two free throws to cut the deficit to three. After Rice missed a jumper on the other end, Geneseo possessed the ball with the chance to tie. Perocolosi shot a three from the corner, but Oka made the play of the game to block it. 

“We needed a stop,” Oka said. “We were up three, they’re a three-point shooting team, and I just saw a three-point shooter in the corner. I just had to make a play for my team, had to finish the game for us.” 

With the loss, Geneseo is eliminated from postseason play. Brockport moves on and will welcome the No. 6 seed Oneonta Red Dragons to town Tuesday evening for the first round of the SUNYACs playoffs. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at The Vlog.

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