ONEONTA, NY – In its season home opener, the Hartwick men's basketball team's high-scoring offense was on full display on Tuesday night at Lambros Arena. Snapping a three-game winless skid against the visiting Union Dutchmen, the Hawks capitalized on a career-high 27 points from Brandon LaForest (Cohoes, NY/Cohoes HS) en route to a 101-85 victory. The win was the first in the head coaching career of Waleed Farid.
LaForest earned just his eleventh start in a Hartwick uniform adding five more points to his previous career-high tally and nearly tripling what he averaged a season ago.
Combined with the likes of senior guard Joey Lufkin (Argyle, NY/Argyle), who added 20 points to the Hawks' cause, the back-court duo went 17-30 from the field and registered 14 rebounds.
Also in the forefront for 'Wick tonight was senior forward Jake Sinicki (Endicott, NY/Maine-Endwell HS) who ended with 23 points in 26 minutes before fouling out with 3:21 left in the contest.
A turnaround jumper in the paint by Sinicki opened the scoring for the host which was quickly followed up by shots from Lufkin and LaForest to give the Hawks its first lead and put them in front by four, 6-2.
Union answered with a 9-0 run in part to its leading scorer Deshon Burgess, who accounted for four of those points, 11-6, capping his team's largest lead of the game. He would later finish the high-scorer of the night with 30 points and 11 boards.
The score settled on a made layup by Matt Liquori (13:15) but with another make by LaForest, the score would continue to grow in the Hawks' favor for the duration of the game.
With a little under nine minutes to go in the first half, LaForest served up a rejection on Burgess' mid-range attempt leading to the easy bucket on the other end, rebuilding the Hawks advantage to six, 24-19, with 7:46 to go before the break.
Under five minutes to go in the half, Justin Pratt (North Kingstown, RI/North Kingstown) would gift the Hawks' their largest advantage in the first, on a make from behind the arc, 37-23.
Kevin Weckworth would answer with two from long-range to help close out the half but the Dutchmen would trail by its largest deficit of the first, down 20 heading into the locker room.
For the second stanza, the Hawks would lead by as many as 21 points, 90-69. The Dutchmen countered with a 16-3 run to neutralize the Hawks, 90-83, with about three minutes left to play, but were unable to convert on any more of their attempts, falling by a final of 16.
Union shot 38.5% (30-78) from the field while Hartwick went 38-68 (55.9%) on its home floor. Junior forward Marc du Moulin (Altamont, NY/Guilderland HS) was the high rebounder for the Hawks totaling nine this contest to go with seven points. Newcomer Ned Bakic (Garfield, NJ/Garfield HS) recorded nine points in 18 minutes out on the floor.
Hartwick will remain at home hosting the 2016 Mayor's Cup next. Keene State will get its chance at the Hawks first on Friday, November 18th at 8 p.m. before SUNY Cobleskill takes on 'Wick Saturday at 4 p.m.