NEW PALTZ, NY – — The SUNY New Paltz men’s basketball team upset first place Potsdam 74-66 this evening at Elting Gymnasium.
The win keeps the Hawks hopes alive for the eighth and final spot in next week’s SUNYAC Tournament. New Paltz, who will host Plattsburgh tomorrow at 4:00 p.m., will need a win combined with a Geneseo loss at Brockport to extend their season.
Junior guard Joe Bell (Albany, NY) led three Hawks in double figures with 22 points. Senior guard Ben Davey (Andover, NJ) added 21 to help New Paltz improve to 8-16 overall and 5-10 in the SUNYAC.
Potsdam, who began the night tied for first with Buffalo State, erased a 15-point second half deficit to take a 52-51 lead midway through the second half. The Bears, who are now 17-7 overall and 11-4 in the SUNYAC, led by as many as four and held a one point advantage with with 4:52 to play before Davey gave New Paltz the lead for good on a jumper at the 4:20 mark. Potsdam was outscored 11-4 the rest of the way and was limited to just one field goal.
New Paltz, who lost 82-63 on the road to Potsdam on Jan. 24, scored the first 12 points of the game to build a double-digit lead just 2:43 in. The Bears narrowed the gap to 24-21 at the nine-minute mark on a basket by senior forward Russell Johnson (Niskayuna, NY). From there the Hawks responded with a 12-4 run to push the lead back to double figures with four minutes left in the half. New Paltz shot 52 percent in the first half and was five-of-nine from three-point range.
Johnson and senior guard Jeff Brady (Binghamton, NY) each had 12 points for Potsdam.