Reserves Shine in New Paltz Men's Basketball's 77-63 Loss to Geneseo

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NEW PALTZ, N.Y. – The State University of New York at New Paltz men's basketball team received significant contributions from its bench, but the Hawks were unable to cool down a SUNY Geneseo team that shot 45.5 percent (15-of-33) from 3-point range in a 77-63 State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) loss to the Knights on Friday evening at the Hawk Center.
The Hawks received 35 bench points, 18 of which came from sophomore guard Dylan Balducci (Massapequa Park, N.Y./Massapequa). Balducci drained a career-high 18 points on 6-of-11 shooting from beyond the arc, and he added a rebound and a steal to his stat line as well. Senior guard/forward R.J. Rosa (North Branch, N.Y./Sullivan West) led the starters with 16 points, and Rosa also contributed five assists, four rebounds, a steal and a block.
New Paltz shot 39.3 percent (22-of-56) from the floor on the game, including a 44.4 percent (12-of-27) clip in the first half. Geneseo, meanwhile, shot 41.4 percent (24-of-58) from the field and hit 93.3 percent (14-of-15) of its free-throw shots. Both teams grabbed 33 rebounds, while the Knights committed just 10 turnovers to the Hawks' 15.
New Paltz drops to 4-17 overall (3-12 SUNYAC) with the loss and hosts The College at Brockport tomorrow in its home finale at 4 p.m. Geneseo rises to 15-6 overall (9-5 SUNYAC) with the win and visits SUNY Oneonta tomorrow at 4 p.m.
As was the case in the Hawks' loss to SUNY Oswego on Tuesday, New Paltz went toe-to-toe with its opponent in the opening stages of the game. While the Hawks kept answering every point scored by Geneseo, junior guard Justin Ringen continued to stretch the Knight lead out with his 3-point shooting, scoring 12 of his 21 points in the first 5:34 of the contest.
Geneseo led by as many as 10 points in the first half, but New Paltz scored eight unanswered points, with a Balducci 3-pointer drawing the Hawks within two at 31-29 with 2:16 left before the half. The Knights extended the advantage back out to seven, though senior guard Keegan Donovan (Groton, N.Y./Groton) knocked down a trey with 37 seconds left to cut the deficit to 36-32 heading into the locker rooms.
The Knights kicked off the second half with an 11-3 surge, and a 3-pointer by junior guard John Decker gave the visitors a 47-35 edge. New Paltz retaliated with an 11-0 run that swung the momentum in its favor, and a 3-pointer by Rosa drew the Hawks within one at 47-46 midway through the second stanza. The two teams traded points until Balducci tied the score at 52-all with a 3-pointer. Freshman guard C.J. Burke hit a 3-pointer on the Knights' next possession to kick start a 13-0 spurt, which put Geneseo out in front comfortably the remainder of the contest.
Decker scored a game-high 22 points for the Knights, while Ringen (21), sophomore forward Jordi Menkhorst (10) and senior guard Kevin Zabransky (10) rounded out Geneseo's double-digit scorers. Zabransky netted his 10 points in eight minutes of reserve duty. Ringen completed the double-double with 10 rebounds, and Decker distributed a game-high eight assists.