CLEVELAND, Ohio – SUNY Geneseo senior guard John Decker scored 19 points while first-year forward Tommy Eastman totaled a career-high 18 points to go along with seven rebounds to lead the Knights to an 80-59 victory over Bethany (W.Va.) in the championship game of the Bill Sudeck Holiday Tournament, hosted by Case Western Reserve, Friday.
Decker, who also scored a game-high 21 points in Thursday's 94-66 victory over Centre (Ky.) was named Tournament MVP. He joined senior guard Justin Ringen, who scored 18 points in the opener and 15 points in the final, on the all-tournament team.
"We were very good defensively the last two days and that was the key to our victories," said head coach Steve Minton. "Decker led the way scoring, but our defensive play was what made us go. We also got very productive minutes from our bench and I'm pleased with how our first-year players are progressing.
Decker scored the Knights' first 12 points, including three three-pointers. Geneseo (8-3) trailed, 6-1, in the early going, but a nice back-door lay-up by junior guard Kevin Crockett off a pass from Ringen put Geneseo on top, 14-13, at the 14:30 mark. Bethany battled back to re-take a 30-29 lead at the 7:02 mark, but a 7-0 run, keyed by a three-pointer by senior guard Jonathan Cohen, staked the Knights to a 36-30 edge at the 4:03 mark that shrunk to three, 38-35, at halftime.
Bethany opened the second half with five-unanswered points for a 40-38 edge with 17:35 on the clock, before a Ringen lay-up at 16:23 finished a 6-0 spurt to put the Knights on top, 44-40. Bethany hit a quick three-pointer to pull back within one, 44-43, at 16:06, but Geneseo responded with a decisive 12-0 run, started by a Ringen three-point strike followed by eight-consecutive points by Eastman, to build a 56-43 at lead at 11:57 it would not relinquish.
Geneseo shot better than 53-percent from the field in the second half, while holding Bethany to 31-percent. The Knights also finished the game with a 43-30 advantage in rebounding, including a 37-21 edge on the defensive end, as Ringen finished with a game-high nine boards.
The Knights will return home next Saturday to host Brockport at 2:00 p.m. in SUNYAC action.