Late Rally Falls Short in New Paltz Men's Basketball's 97-93 Loss to Buffalo State

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BUFFALO – An 11-4 run at the end of regulation brought the State University of New York at New Paltz men's basketball team (3-3, 1-1 SUNYAC) just short of an upset bid over Buffalo State (4-1, 2-0 SUNYAC) on Saturday at the Buffalo State Sports Arena, as the Hawks fell, 97-93, to the host Bengals in State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) action.

New Paltz, which had trailed the entirety of the game, found itself in an 11-point hole with 2:01 to play. Senior guard/forward Shereef Taylor (Hyde Park, N.Y./Franklin D. Roosevelt) converted on a layup, but Brad Doyley pushed the edge back out to 11 with 1:23 remaining. Senior forward Matt Devine (Manalapan, N.J./Freehold Township) and Taylor each made layups to trim the deficit to seven, and a Devine steal set up another Hawk possession. Devine was fouled shooting a three-pointer, and it gave him the chance to knock down three free throws, and that made it a four-point contest.

Senior guard Shalik Jenkins (Brooklyn, N.Y./Boys and Girls) stole the ball on Buffalo State's next possession, and that gave way to another made pair of free throws by Devine. With the score 95-93 in favor of the Bengals, New Paltz fouled Anyar Majak, who connected on both his free-throw attempts to give Buffalo State a four-point lead again. Devine was unable to draw the foul at the buzzer shooting a three, and his attempt also caromed off the backboard.

Buffalo State went 5-of-5 from deep to start the game, which helped break open a 25-10 advantage. A three-pointer by freshman guard Keegan Donovan (Groton, N.Y./Groton) kick started a 9-0 Hawk spurt, but the Bengals went on a 9-1 tear that helped fortify their footing heading into the break. Buffalo State led by a 54-40 edge at the intermission.

While the Bengals held the lead throughout the course of the second stanza as well, the Hawks made a statement in the opening minutes, as they went on a 7-0 run that was capped by a Devine three-pointer. A five-point deficit was the closest New Paltz got to Buffalo State before the Hawks' end-of-the-period scoring spree.

The Hawks were buoyed by a spectacular night at the line, as they shot 35-of-37 (94.6 percent). They were hurt, however, by 41.5 percent (27-of-65) shooting from the field, while Buffalo State shot 51.5 percent (35-of-68). The Bengals also went 10-of-21 (47.6 percent) from distance. New Paltz controlled the glass by a 46-30 margin, and the Bengals also committed just four turnovers all game.

Taylor's 25 points off 10-of-18 shooting from the floor and 4-of-4 shooting from the line sparked the Hawk attack, while Devine chipped in 19 points. Freshman forward Deveino McRae (Bronx, N.Y./Archbishop Stepinac) and Jenkins tallied 16 points apiece, with 10 of Jenkins' points coming off 10-of-10 shooting at the charity stripe. Devine and McRae also posted double-doubles, with Devine grabbing 11 rebounds and McRae adding 10.

For Buffalo State, Roderick Epps led the way with 25 points, while Jake Simmons (17), Maurice Miles (15), Seth Runge (12) and Majak (10) also reached double figures. Majak's 10 points came in 20 minutes of play coming off the bench. Anthony Hamer was key to the Bengal offense, as he handed out a game-high seven assists.

The Hawks next face non-conference Eastern Connecticut State University on Tuesday, Dec. 4, at 7 p.m. at the Hawk Center.