New Paltz Men's Basketball Drops 78-74 Contest to Eastern Connecticut

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NEW PALTZ, N.Y. – Hot three-point shooting from Eastern Connecticut State University (4-2) in the first half ultimately doomed the State University of New York at New Paltz men's basketball team (3-4) in a 78-74 non-conference loss to the Warriors on Tuesday night at the Hawk Center.

Eastern Connecticut shot 8-of-12 (66.7 percent) from distance in the first 20 minutes of play, but it cooled off in the second half, going just 1-of-9 from three-point range. The Warriors also dominated the glass, holding a 36-27 edge in rebounds. New Paltz did go 50 percent (9-of-18) from three-point land for the game, and it outshot the Warriors by a 46.3 percent-to-43.9 percent margin.

Senior guard/forward Shereef Taylor (Hyde Park, N.Y./Franklin D. Roosevelt) led the Hawks with a game-high 27 points off 10-of-16 shooting, including a 5-of-9 mark from long range. Senior forward Matt Devine (Manalapan, N.J./Freehold Township) chipped in 18 points, while senior guard Shalik Jenkins (Brooklyn, N.Y./Boys and Girls) added 15.

For Eastern Connecticut, Brian Salzillo scored 26 points—18 of which came off three-pointers—coming off the bench, while his teammate Chris Robitaille added 18 points in reserve duty. Mike Garrow also reached double-digit scoring figures with 17 points. Joe Ives helped power the offense with six assists, while Robitaille had a game-high eight rebounds.

The Hawks hopped out to a 6-0 lead behind threes from Devine and Taylor, prompting an Eastern Connecticut timeout. New Paltz continued to hold on to the lead until a three from Salzillo at 8:17 of the first half gave the Warriors an 18-16 advantage. After trading points, New Paltz tied the score at 26-all off a pair of made free throws by Jenkins at 4:20 of the first half. From that point forward, Eastern Connecticut ended the half on a 16-2 tear, which gave the visiting team a 42-28 edge heading into the locker room.

The Warriors continued to stave off the Hawks in the beginning of the second stanza until New Paltz went on a 10-2 run, which was capped off by a three-pointer from Jenkins. That Jenkins three drew the Hawks within three at 12:23 of the second half. New Paltz continued to stay close, and an old-fashioned three-point play by Taylor at 7:41 of the second half pulled the team within one at 62-61—the closest it wound up getting during the period. Eastern Connecticut made its free throws down the stretch to hold off the Hawks.

New Paltz plays its first State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) home games of the season this weekend, beginning on Friday, Dec. 7, with an 8 p.m. clash with The College at Brockport.