By Dylan Butler
“Teamwork,” he said.
It was the Cardinals second straight victory after an uncharacteristic 0-3 conference start.
“We have had our problems and the team just hadn't been gelling,” St. John said. “We just needed to get the whole atmosphere together. We distributed the ball and played well tonight. We played as a team and we haven't been doing that.”
Leading the charge for York (7-7, 2-3) was the combination of senior guard Stanley O'Neil and junior forward Quincy Oudkerk. O'Neil, a Holy Cross grad, had 14 points and five assists, while Oudkerk, who went to Jamaica High School, had 18 points and seven rebounds. According to St. John, their play will speak volumes of how well York, the preseason CUNY favorite, does.
“If those two go, then we'll be OK,” he said.
“If me and Quincy are on top of our games, we compliment each other well.” O'Neil said. “If I'm hitting from the outside and he is scoring down low, that's two things for the other team to stop and that's tough.”
O'Neil paced the Cardinals with 10 first-half, as York went into the break ahead, 42-31.
But when O'Neil's shot wasn't dropping in the second half, he had the presence of mind to kick the ball inside to the 6-foot-9 Oudkerk, who muscled his way through the paint for 12 second half points.
“We all have faith in ourselves, in the team concept,” Oudkerk said.
And it was the play of O'Neil and Oudkerk that sparked others on the team, including freshmen guards Jessie Cotton and Roberto Tapia. The seldom-used Cotton had 10 points, including two three pointers during an 18-6 run to put the Cardinals ahead 38-22 with 2:22 left in the first half.
Cotton, a Brooklyn native out of Canarsie High School, lived up to written saying assistant coach Jessica Cherry gave him before the game.
“It said, 'Today's your day, be aggressive, be alert, be Brooklyn and be patient,'” St. John said. “He went out and did just that. He needed that for himself, it gave him some confidence.”
While Cotton helped establish York's first half lead, it was Tapia who helped close out the game, scoring four of his 12 points in a 13-0 run to extend a 60-53 lead to 73-53 with 2:27 left in the game.
“When we have guards like Jessie come in and hit shots, Roberto come in and slash, now that presents problems for other teams to play us,” O'Neil said. “We're getting rolling at the right time. Now's the time we want to head towards our peak.”
CCNY (7-8, 1-5) was led by Ralph Perez, who scored a game-high 27 points, and Aki Trent, who netted 21 points on six three-pointers.
“This win makes us feel a little better,” Oudkerk said. “But it doesn't mean anything until the whole season is over.”
Manhattanville 66, York 53. O'Neil had a team-high 17 points and four assists, as the Cardinals fell in the final of the Manhattanville College tournament Sunday. Oudkerk added 10 points and seven rebounds. Jason Daniel and O'Neil were named to the all-tournament team.
York 85, SUNY Farmingdale 78. Daniel led the way for the Cardinals with 27 points in the Manhattanville College tournament Satuday. Marvin Hill paced SUNY Farmingdale (6-11) with 25 points.