New Paltz Men's Basketball Tops Oneonta, 90-72, to Reach SUNYAC Tournament

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NEW PALTZ, N.Y. – The State University of New York at New Paltz men's basketball team (11-14, 9-9 SUNYAC) will be headed to the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) Men's Basketball Championship Tournament for the fourth year in a row, as the Hawks downed SUNY Oneonta (4-21, 3-15 SUNYAC) by a 90-72 final on Friday night in SUNYAC action at the Hawk Center in their regular-season finale. New Paltz—which earned the No. 6 seed in the tournament—earned a playoff spot by virtue of a win along with a Buffalo State overtime loss to The College at Brockport.

Senior forward Matt Devine (Manalapan, N.J./Freehold Township) scored 28 points to lead the Hawks, marking his fourth straight 20-plus-point performance. Senior guard/forward Shereef Taylor (Hyde Park, N.Y./Franklin D. Roosevelt) drained 22 points, while junior guard/forward Taylor Sowah (Bronx, N.Y./Miller Place) and freshman guard Keegan Donovan (Groton, N.Y./Groton) scored 13 and 11 points, respectively. Sowah's 13 points came in 31 minutes of reserve duty. Taylor stuffed the stat sheet with six assists, four steals and a block, while freshman forward Deveino McRae (Bronx, N.Y./Archbishop Stepinac) grabbed a game-high 10 boards.

For Oneonta, Zach Mager went 12-of-13 at the line en route to fashioning an 18-point performance, while Jack Dignan and Jackson Zuvic added 13 and 12 points, respectively.

New Paltz shot 62.1 percent (18-of-29) from the floor in the second half and went 29-of-54 (53.7 percent) for the contest. The Hawks held a 43-29 edge on the glass, and they knocked down 78.8 percent (26-of-33) of their free-throw shots. Oneonta shot 37.5 percent (24-of-64) from the floor and 70.4 percent (19-of-27) from the charity stripe, while New Paltz committed 17 turnovers to Oneonta's 11.

The Red Dragons hopped out to a 5-0 lead early, but a 12-2 New Paltz spurt gave the Hawks a 12-7 edge. New Paltz kept a small lead over Oneonta until the visiting team went on a 7-0 scoring spree to take a 31-30 advantage with 1:34 left to play in the first half. New Paltz quickly responded with a 6-0 run, and an old-fashioned three-point play by freshman guard Zach Cone-Douglas (New Paltz, N.Y./New Paltz) gave the Hawks a five-point cushion. Zach Mager knocked down a pair of free throws with 45 seconds remaining in the half to provide the halftime margin of 36-33.

New Paltz came out of the gates in the second half firing on all cylinders, going on a 12-2 run. A three-pointer by Taylor gave the Hawks a 12-point lead—their largest of the night to that point. The Hawks cruised to the midway point of the half, flirting with double-digit leads throughout, but Oneonta made it a game in the final 10 minutes. A 6-0 Red Dragon run made the score 63-58 in favor of New Paltz with 8:49 left to play, and after a Sowah layup, Oneonta went on a 4-0 spurt to trim the deficit to three. An 8-0 scoring spree that was capped off by a Taylor dunk gave the Hawks an 11-point cushion with 3:26 left to play, however, and New Paltz rode the momentum up until the final buzzer.

New Paltz will play the No. 3 seed on the road on Tuesday, Feb. 19, in the quarterfinal round of the SUNYAC Tournament. The time and the opponent will be determined following tomorrow afternoon's results.