Men’s Basketball charges their way to a 4-1 start

Sam Kobylar

Staff Writer

After getting off to a strong start to their season by winning their first two games on the road during the first week of regular season games and outscoring their opponents 188-141, the men’s basketball team has looked just as good throughout their second week of regular season play.

It all started last Tuesday when the Vikings won their third consecutive road game by defeating Albany-Pharmacy 110-74. It was the second time in the first three games where the team scored more than 100 points.

It was a great all-around team effort as five different Vikings scored at least 10 points. Freshman forward Diamond Corker led the way in points for the Vikings with 15 points and guard John Palmer had 14 points including four 3-point field goals.

When asked about who some key players have been so far for the Vikings, head coach Mike Long said, “It’s kind of spread around a little bit, different guys in different games. If we can have different guys step up every game, like I’ve had guys come off the bench and come in and score a bunch of points, play good defense, get rebounds, lose balls. That is what I am looking for, I hope anybody at any time.”

That was a little bit of a different story in Friday night’s home opener game against Jefferson Community College. The Vikings went on to win their fourth game in a row to start the season by defeating Jefferson 92-86 in a tight game that could have gone either way. It was much different compared to the Vikings’ first three games of the season as two of their first three wins were won by 36 points or more.

Also, the scoring by the Vikings wasn’t as evenly distributed in Friday night’s game compared to their first three games as Palmer put the team on his back in this game as he scored 26 points including four 3-pointers for the second consecutive game. Even though Palmer had the biggest game for the Vikings that night, guards Ericco Feaster and Jordan Nelson made big contributions for the Vikings as Feaster had 15 points while Nelson dropped 14 points.

“We had a couple of [wins] earlier this season where we won by 40. So this was a close game, this was our first close one at home, it was a good game.” said sophomore Feaster on winning the close game Friday night.

Long said, “This was a big game that we needed. To have it close and win at the end, that just means a tremendous amount to me, the coaching staff, and to the players.”

This game was tight throughout the entire 40 minutes as there were six different lead changes in the game with 10 different ties. However, the key run that turned around the game was where Hudson Valley outscored Jefferson 26-15 in the final seven and a half minutes in the first half to give the Vikings a 48-44 lead heading into halftime.

This run by the Vikings would continue early in the second half as Hudson Valley went on a 20-12 run to start the second half to extend their lead to 12, the largest of the game by either team. However, Jefferson would fight back late in the second half to make it interesting as the game came down to the final minute. With the game tied at 85 each with about two minutes left, the Vikings closed out with game with a 7-1 run thanks to a key charging call against Jefferson which opened the opportunity for the Vikings to pull away with the game and they did just that as Palmer made a couple huge free throws to help secure the Vikings fourth straight win.

Even though the basketball team is off to a 4-0 start, Long isn’t that excited yet. “Last year it was somewhat similar, we got off to a pretty good start, a little bit of a rough patch near the end of the semester. Then start second semester we went on the road and lost a couple of games, then it kind of spiraled down to just about a .500 season,” said Long on starting off this season 4-0.

However, after winning their first four games, the Vikings winning streak got snapped on Saturday as the Vikings lost on the road to a very good Herkimer team 91-84 to put the Vikings at a 4-1 overall record through the first two weeks of the regular season.

“We just got to come out playing with the same intensity,” said Feaster on keeping this good momentum going.

“We got to get better; we are a very young team. Each guy knows he can get better and do things a lot better, so that is what I am looking for every day,” said Long. “They are a good group, they hang in tough with each other, so I think that is going to help us get better as we go along.”

The Vikings will take that 4-1 record into their next game on Wednesday night as they play a 3-2 Adirondack Community College team at home before they go on the road Sunday to play Schenectady Community College.

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