Buffalo State College, ranked No. 1 in the latest NCAA Division III men's basketball poll, routed Brockport, 94-66, Tuesday night in a State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) game before 1,230 in Houston Gym.
The Bengals (17-0) were last ranked No. 1 during a 1982-83 season in which they beat both Canisius and Niagara. This year, they rose to No. 1 after Wittenberg of Ohio, last week's top team, lost Saturday at Allegheny, 60-57. Buffalo State, 6-0 in the SUNYAC West, meets archrival Potsdam, ranked No. 9, at 8 p.m. Friday in Houston Gym.
Buffalo State coach Dick Bihr downplayed his club's No. 1 spot.
"We haven't really thought much of it. We are right in the middle of conference play, which is most important," he said. "It's not the end of the world if we lost it. The only time it's really important is March 17-18 (the NCAA finals time)."
The Bengals started slowly and trailed, 8-0, but bounced back to tie at 12-12 on Jerry Young's fast-break basket with 14:02 remaining.
Chuck Swierski hit a jumper to put the Bengals ahead by two, but Robbie Lewis hit a three-pointer to give Brockport a 15-14 lead. The teams traded baskets until the Bengals went on a 20-4 run starting at the 6:54 mark to go ahead, 42-27, af halftime. Shane Johnson scored seven and Young added two three-pointers in that rally.
The game was more wide open in the second half, but the Bengals added to their lead as Swierski scored five points, Sean Gray four and Mark Worthy hit a jumper to put them ahead, 53-29, with 16:49 left.
Swierski, a West Seneca East graduate, continued to click offensively as he scored seven points, the last basket on Johnson's behind-the-back pass, to help put the Bengals up by 31, 63-32, with 13:30 left.
The Golden Eagles then went on the offensive, outscoring the Bengals, 20-7, over the next 3:20 to cut Buffalo State's lead to 70-52 with 8:54 to play.
Jason Slaughter hit a 15-footer, Worthy added a free throw and Bill Gorman a 19-footer to establish the Bengals' commanding 75-52 margin with 7:07 left.
A Slaughter slam dunk and a Gorman 18-footer forced Brockport to call another timeout. It didn't help, as Slaughter made two more baskets and Anthony Williams added two layups for another 31-point lead (90-59) with 1:29 to go.
Johnson led the Bengals with 17 points. Swierski and Young had 15 each. Burnice Green had 25 and Andre Bigby 17 for Brockport.