ONEONTA — Jared Suderley’s senior season just keeps getting better and better.
Suderley added to his all-time program records for points and rebounds with game-highs of 21 and 14, respectively, to lead the Hartwick College men’s basketball team to a 67-62 victory over Nazareth in the Empire 8 Conference Tournament championship game Saturday at Lambros Arena.
“We didn’t have the regular season we wanted and we gave a lot of games away early and we gave away some conference games, too,” said tournament MVP Suderley, who has 2,016 points and 910 rebounds in four seasons with the Hawks. “But once we knew we were hosting, we knew we weren’t going to lose. There was no way the seniors were going to go out and lose on our home court in the tournament.”
Top-seeded Hartwick (18-9) held the third-seeded Golden Flyers (19-8) to their second-lowest points total of the season, avenging a pair of regular-season losses to earn its first E8 Tournament title since 2011 and an automatic berth into the NCAA Division III Tournament.
The Hawks, who also reached the NCAAs with an at-large berth in 2012, will make their 18th NCAA tournament appearance later this month. The field for the 2014 tournament will be announced at 12:30 p.m. today on the website www.ncaa.com.
“This means a lot,” said Suderley, who set both of his program records earlier this season. “That was our goal coming in: First to win the league, host the tournament and then win the tournament. Now we’re going back to the NCAA tournament. That was our goal all along.
“I want to make a run,” he continued. “We want to win at least one game. It’d be nice to win a game for coach (Todd McGuinness) because he really wants to win a game in the tournament. So that’s what we want to do for him.”