Men's Basketball

Defense-Minded Vikings Clip No. 8 Hawks, 77-53

CONTACT: Jeff Foley (518) 629-8085 or (518) 210-4161

FOR RELEASE: Immediate, Saturday, January 26, 2002

Troy, N.Y., January 26, 2002 – A late arrival to the men's basketball game at Troy's McDonough Complex this afternoon might have thought the scoreboard was malfunctioning: at halftime, it read Hudson Valley Community College 40, Mohawk Valley Community College 15. Keep in mind that Mohawk Valley came into the matchup as the No. 8 Division III junior college in the nation and Hudson Valley entered the game with a 9-8 record.

It made no difference. The scoreboard was correct, and the underdog Vikings romped to a 77-53 victory.

"Before the game, I thought, ‘If we play defense like we can, we'll be in good shape,'" said Vince Medici, Hudson Valley's seventh-year head coach. "I went into the locker room afterwards and I told the players, ‘You cannot play better defense than that.' That was a fantastic effort."

Mohawk Valley was held 31 points below its 84-points-per-game average. The loss drops the Hawks to 18-3 overall. With the victory, Hudson Valley improves to 10-8 overall.

Not only was Hudson Valley's defensive effort strong – the Vikings held Mohawk Valley to 31 percent shooting from the field – but the Vikings also shot well, hitting 56 percent of their field goal attempts. Hudson Valley drilled 10 three-pointers.

"My guys are starting to realize that they can be as good as they want to be," Medici said. "They're playing great defense, and now they're learning each other's strengths, too. They're learning who shoots well, who passes well, who rebounds."

The Vikings, who have won six of their last eight games, began the contest with a 14-4 run en route to the 40-15 halftime lead. Rotating players throughout the second half – every active player on Hudson Valley's roster scored and eight players had at least seven points – the Vikings maintained much of their lead in the second half.

Steve Valente (La Salle Institute) and Markael Brace (Albany H.S.) led Hudson Valley with 13 points each. Joseph Bell (Albany H.S.) contributed 10 points.

"We don't care who scores," Medici said. "As long as our score is bigger than their score at the end of the game ... We will just try to continue to play strong defense."

In the 2000-01 academic year, Hudson Valley's athletic teams combined to win 72 percent of their contests. The ice hockey team won the NJCAA championship, the baseball team earned a berth in the NJCAA World Series and the football team won the Region III title. The women's basketball team earned a No. 1 national ranking and turned in a 24-3 record while the men's hoop squad competed in the Region III championship game. Additionally, two Vikings earned Region III Player-of-the-Year status, 20 were named All-Region III performers, and 10 were honored with All-American status.