Keeping the Momentum: Men’s Basketball continues win streak


Kayleigh Sturtevant

Guard Darius Hopkins fends off opposing player.

Shane Tinney, Contributing Writer

The men’s basketball team didn’t let winter break slow  down their momentum. The team had a 6-1 record over break and are now on a seven-game winning streak to improve to 14-2 overall. It took overtime to secure two of those wins, including an 85-81 victory over conference opponent Nazareth College who was ranked No. 19 at the time.

The Pioneers put together a fifteen-point comeback in the second half with Thomas Morreale leading the team in scoring, putting in 18. Morreale was one of five Pioneers who scored in double figures, joined by Avery Coston (17), Dayion Thompson (12), Justice Brantley (11), and Darius Hopkins (10). With just five seconds remaining, Thompson ran up the court and tied the game at 74 to send it to overtime. In overtime, Coston and Griffin Barasa put in clutch free throws at the end of overtime to seal it.

The Pioneers beat conference opponent Alfred University to close out the break in a decisive 73-59 victory. Darius Hopkins led the way scoring a game-high 23 points. The team had a nine-point lead at the half, but Alfred cut it to one with just over 11 minutes left to play. Junior Luke Bourgault stepped up down the stretch, scoring the Pioneer’s next nine points by going three- for three from behind the arc over a two-minute span. This gave the team a ten-point lead and they did not look back, eventually securing the victory by 14 points. The defense was a key to winning the contest, holding Alfred to 14.3 percent from three-point range and forcing 14 turnovers.

Senior Justice Brantley continued his career year over the break. Brantley scored 20 or more in five games, including dropping a career-high 28 points against SUNY Delhi. His season average is now up to over 18 points per game after averaging 5.2 last season. He also averaged almost eight rebounds per game compared to 3.5 a season ago.

Coming out of the break, the team remains hot. The Pioneers beat Medaille University 77-59 to give them a 9-0 record in Empire 8 conference play. With the win, the Pioneers now have their best start through nine conference games in program history, breaking a 16-year-old record. This wasn’t the only milestone of the night, as Morreale scored his 1,000 career point, making him the 17th player in program history to eclipse 1,000 points. This victory was a complete team effort as five Pioneers scored in double figures, led by a season-high 18 points from Junior Damien Call.

In their Code Orange Coaches vs.Cancer Suits and Sneakers Game, the pioneers defeated Hartwick College at home in conference play on Jan. 27 85-70 making it 10-game unbeaten in the conference. The pioneers went on to defeat Russlle Sage College at home on Jan. 28 95-66 moving to 11-0 in the conference and making it nine wins on the trot. Their next big conference game will come against Nazareth College on Jan.31.