Newcomb: SUNYAC men’s basketball bracketology

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Senior forward Clifton Lyerly takes the ball to the hole against the No. 1 seeded Oswego Lakers on Senior Day, Feb. 18. Lyerly finished with 15 points and six rebounds for the Golden Eagles. Photo: courtesy of Brockport Athletic Communication Department via Flickr, Sam Cherubin.

By: Nicholas Newcomb

After The College at Brockport men’s basketball team took down top-ranked Oswego 80-75 behind junior guard Hamed Shamseldin’s 24 point-performance on Senior Day Saturday, Feb. 18, the Golden Eagles locked up the No. 2 spot in the State University of New York Athletic Conference’s (SUNYAC) postseason tournament beginning Tuesday, Feb. 21.

However, Brockport won’t play until Friday because both the Golden Eagles and the No. 1 seeded Lakers earned first round byes.

With all the action this week here are a few story lines for Brockport and the SUNYAC tournament.

This is the best Brockport basketball team since its 2013-14 season: It’s been a while since Brockport’s 57-56 win over SUNY Plattsburgh in the conference finals in 2014. That season was the team’s now leading scorer Clifton Lyerly’s freshman season in which he played beside one of Brockport’s greatest talents, John Ivy, who is now a member of the Rochester RazorSharks professional basketball team. Since that season Lyerly’s career has arguably been anti-climactic in terms of the team’s overall performance. But he has the chance to rewrite that narrative and cap off his final collegiate season with a second SUNYAC title.

The Golden Eagles will have to play either Geneseo or Oneonta: Brockport beat Oneonta twice in the regular season in some high-scoring affairs and split their series with Geneseo. The Golden Eagles lost to the Knights by 20 points in January but then took them down by nearly 20 points in their second match up. I’m at a loss for who I would rather they face in the semifinals. It’s difficult beating a team three times in one season but we also don’t know what we’ll get with a Geneseo match up.

Oswego will be waiting at the championship game: Oswego has played in both the last two conference championship games and won the title in 2015. Every year they are a powerhouse come tournament time and this year will be no different, especially because they’re hosting the event. The key to shutting the Lakers down is keying in on senior guard Brian Sortino. He has consistently been one of the league’s top-scorers for the past few years and knows how to get his shot. Sortino averages 20 points per game and shoots 40 percent from beyond the arc. Whether or not Brockport makes it on the other side of the bracket, you can expect the Lakers will cruise to the finals.

 

First Round: No. 5 Buffalo State at No. 3 Cortland, No. 6 Geneseo at No. 4 Oneonta, Tuesday, Feb. 21 @ 5:30 p.m.

Semifinals: No. 2 Brockport vs. Geneseo/Oneonta winner, Friday, Feb. 24 @ 5:30 p.m.; No. 1 Oswego vs. Buffalo State/Cortland winner, Friday, Feb. 24 @ 7:30 p.m.

Championship: Saturday, Feb. 25 @ 4 p.m.

Predictions: I don’t expect any upsets this year and I fully expect Brockport and Oswego will meet in the championship game.

Be sure to check out @Brockportbeat on Twitter for more news and updates.

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