ONEONTA, NY – After going 1-2 in the opening week of league action, the Hartwick men's basketball team not only snapped a two-game skid of its own but handed Stevens its first Empire 8 loss with an 88-79 win at Lambros Arena Tuesday night. After trailing by four at the break, it took the Hawks under three minutes following the intermission to pin the deficit back on the Ducks and they led the rest of the way. The Hawks are now 9-4 overall and an even 2-2 in E8 action while the Ducks stumble to 8-3 on the year and 2-1 in the league.
With the result, Hartwick head coach Waleed Farid earns a win over his former team. It also ups Hartwick's all-time series clip over the Ducks at 13-7 with 'Wick now beating Stevens in six of the last seven meetings.
After stretching its lead to as many as 13 points at the 11:43 mark of the first, the Ducks answered upping its play in the next eight minutes to see a two-point deficit fixed to the host, 35-33. Jake Sinicki (Endicott, NY/Maine-Endwell HS) would quickly answer in style with a jam down the lane deadlocking the score at 35 apiece with 3:18 until the break.
Stevens then went on to score 11 of the next 16 points to close out the first 20 minutes, pegging a four-point hole to the Hawks, 44-40.
In the second stanza, a made triple from Justin Pratt (North Kingstown, RI/North Kingstown HS) mounted a two-point lead for Hartwick and the Hawks never trailed again.
The Hawks showcased convincing numbers at Lambros outscoring the Ducks 44-22 in the paint, netting a total of 24 points off of the Ducks' 15 miscues and sinking 12 points in the open court. Also, Hartwick's 10 steals for the game is the most against any of its opponents this season.
Stevens only benefitted 10 points from the host's mistakes. The Ducks did however receive 16 points off of second-chance opportunities to that of Hartwick's six.
Sinicki established his second consecutive double-double finishing with a game-high 22 points and 11 boards. The Endicott, NY product shot an effective 8-of-13 from the field and also rejected two shots with one steal on the night.
Joey Lufkin (Argyle, NY/Argyle Central) had 21 points (8-of-15 from the field) for the Hawks all while dropping five dimes and four steals.
Pratt shot his best clip from distance this season knocking down 66.7 percent of his tries from deep for all 12 of his points. Brandon LaForest (Cohoes, NY/Cohoes HS) added two steals to his prior conference-leading tally of 24, while also netting 14 points and crashing the boards for six rebounds.
All of Matt Knezovic's (Ballston Lake, NY/Mansfield University) scoring came in the first half securing 3-of-4 attempts from the field, two from beyond the arc, for eight points at the intermission.
In the forefront for the road team, Ryan Coffey tabbed a double-double of 21 points and 12 rebounds while Patrick Barron and Evan Klimchak added 15 and 14 to the scoring, respectively.
The Hawks see its first Empire 8 back-to-back this season hosting Alfred this Friday, January 13 at 8 p.m. Houghton then comes to Oyaron Hill Saturday, January 14 for a 4 p.m. game.