Clarkson men's basketball preview - at Hobart/RIT
Winners of five of the last six Liberty League contests, the Clarkson University Men's Basketball team seems to have found its rhythm offensively and defensively, and the Golden Knights will need to continue in step this weekend when they face the top two teams in the conference standings on Friday and Saturday.
The Golden Knights, 12-8 overall and 6-5 in the Liberty League, will face first-place, and defending league champion, Hobart College on Friday and will then take on upstart RIT on Saturday afternoon.The Statesmen went 15-1 in the Liberty League last year with their lone loss coming against the Golden Knights, and Hobart isn't far off from that record in 2014. The Statesmen enter the weekend at 17-5 overall and 11-2 in the Liberty League, but once again one of those defeats came at the hands of Clarkson less than two weeks ago. The Knights got 24 points from John Coleman (Potsdam, NY) in the win and 15 apiece from Felix Abongo (Beacon, NY) and Marques Charlton (Deer Park, NY). Hobart isn't used to being handled like they were at Alumni Gymnasium, as the team averages 77.2 points per game, shooting 46.4% from the floor and 74.1% from the free throw line. Once again, six of the top 12 scorers in the Liberty League will be featured in the Friday night contest as Coleman (3rd), Charlton 94th) and Abongo (12th) will lace them up for the Knights and Richie Bonney (19.9 ppg, 2nd in the Liberty League), Connor Rehbaum (15.2 ppg, 9th) and Joe Gibbons (14.7 ppg, 10th) will come off the Hobart sidelines. Additionally, Coleman, Bonney, and Gibbons rank first, second, and third in the conference in field goal percentage.
The Tigers have surprised some teams after mustering just five wins in the Liberty League in 2013, nearly matching their overall season total from last year in only conference contests. RIT is third in the league in field goal percentage (46.2%) and can also pour in points at 76.4 ppg. JP Reagan and Jameel Balenton both rank in the top 20 in scoring, but it is a diverse offense that has seen five different players lead the team in scoring at some point this year. Also, five players average 8.0 points per game or more. Marques Charlton enjoyed a standout day against the Tigers two weeks ago when he scored 28 points, one of five 20-point games he's had this year and his third-highest scoring effort in 2013-14.