On the basketball court, the Mighty Oaks fell to conference rival and three-time USCAA defending national champs Berkeley College, 51-73.
Straight from the tip off, ESF came out on the attack, jumping ahead with an early 4-3 lead. The Knights and the Mighty Oaks traded baskets with Berkeley taking the lead, 15-8, with 15 minutes remaining. At that point Berkeley started to pull away building a 35-16 first half lead as they looked to squash ESF. ESF stormed back to cut the lead to 11, 37-26, thanks to a layup by freshman Zach Dormer with eight seconds remaining. Berkeley responded with a three-pointer by Demitri Stewart to end the half with a 40-26 lead.
At the start of the second half, the Mighty Oaks fed Berkeley two consecutive turnovers and a miss shot as the Knights were able to quickly extend their lead to 22 on a 11-0 opening half run. The Knights led by as many as 30 points which ultimately proved to be too much for the young ESF squad to overcome as Berkeley went on to win, 73-51. ESF would win the turnover battle, only committing 12 in the game versus 20 by the Knights. Cold shooting by ESF cost them a chance to stay in the game, shooting an ice cold 1-21 from behind the three-point line, 27 percent field-goal shooting overall. Dormer led all scorers with his aggressive play scoring 20 points off from 8-17 shooting, three rebounds and three steals. Stewart led four Knights who scored double-digits with 17 points.
"We felt that for the most part we held our own against the three-time defending champs Berkeley. Coach Pena and Christiansen have one of the best programs at our level and we look forward to the battle every year. We took care of the basketball against their relentless pressure which is a great positive for us as we focus on our remaining conference games as we look to qualify for the postseason again for a third straight year," said Head Coach Scott Blair.
Berkeley College improves to 17-1 overall, 3-0 in HVIAC conference play while ESF falls to 4-11 overall, 2-3 in conference play. The Mighty Oaks look to bounce back and will host conference rival Albany Pharmacy Jan. 31. The game will tip off 7 p.m. at Onondaga Community College's Allyn Gymnasium.