By MIKE ROSE
The Brockport men’s basketball team went blow for blow with the Oswego State Lakers Saturday, but once again it was Oswego who showed why they remain the class of the SUNYAC. The Lakers claimed their 32nd consecutive conference win, knocking off the Golden Eagles 69-61. Despite the loss, Brockport went toe-to-toe with the kings of the conference.
“We just stuck together,” Brockport’s Tony Arnold said. “There are a lot of times we could’ve given up tonight. This is a team that puts a lot of people away. When they go on their runs and go up six or eight and then before you know it it’s 30 points so I’m just glad we didn’t come apart. Proud of the guys and proud of the way we fought tonight.”
Out of the gates, Brockport seized control. The Golden Eagles opened on an 11-0 run power by Arnold and Danny Ashley who combined for 10 of the game-opening points. The Lakers would eventually find their footing and a triple from Jaden Kennedy with 2:53 left in the first half gave Oswego its first lead of the night. Powered by 11-of-15 shooting at the charity stripe, the Lakers maintained a five-point edge at the half.
Brockport held the SUNYAC’s top-scoring and shooting offense to 33 points on 10-for-35 from the floor in the opening 20 minutes. That included holding the conference’s first and third leading scorers in Jeremiah Sparks and Ahkee Anderson to a combined eight points on 3-of-19 shooting. Jamal Achille scored 11 of his 13 points in the first half to help keep the slow-starting Lakers afloat. In the second half, however, the stars would make their mark.
Brockport made numerous pushes in the final 20 to chip away at the deficit but the Lakers held the lead for the rest of the night. Caquan Wester scored all 10 of his points in the second half for Brockport while Zach Rice added nine of his 13 in the final frame but Oswego answered at every turn. Sparks took over the game including back-to-back buckets midway through the half when Brockport had got within two. Anderson drilled the final dagger late to put the game away.
Overall, Sparks led all scorers with 19 points and grabbed 12 rebounds while Anderson scored 12 for Oswego. Arnold finished with a team-high 18 points for Brockport.
The loss leaves Brockport (15-8, 11-6) with some uncertainty heading into the final week of the regular season. While the Golden Eagles have punched their ticket to the postseason, they can still finish seeded anywhere from second to fifth place. Brockport will have one chance left to help its cause when they close the regular season at home against the Geneseo Knights, on Saturday, Feb. 17. Tip-off is scheduled for 4 p.m. at The Vlog.