With less than a week remaining in the regular season, the Liberty League is nearly as muddled as it was when all the teams began the campaign at 0-0. Only one team has clinched a spot and one other has been eliminated, and the Clarkson University Men's Basketball team is one of a few that controls its own destiny. The Golden Knights will start that hopeful march toward the post-season on Tuesday night when they face St. Lawrence University.
The Knights won the first game of the two-game series against the Saints over a month ago, 79-68, but the pattern in recent years has been that the season-series gets split with the visitor winning on the other team's home floor. Clarkson (13-9 overall, 7-6 Liberty League) is looking to break that run with a sweep and officially eliminate the Saints (9-13 overall, 5-8 Liberty League) from the playoff picture on Tuesday.
In the first meeting, both teams shot better than 50 percent from th floor and both also hit their shots from the perimeter, but Clarkson took better care of the ball and that proved to be the difference. The Knights committed just six turnovers while gaining 21 assists on 31 shots, while St. Lawrence turned the ball over 14 times.
Sophomore Felix Abongo (Beacon, NY) was virtually unstoppable for Clarkson in the first meeting, shooting 11-for-15 from the field for a career-high 29 points. The Saints will likely have a gameplan to limit Abongo's opportunities, but the Knights will have their normal number of options on offense. Abongo averages 13.9 points (12th in the Liberty League) and 7.0 rebounds (sixth in the Liberty League), but the offense has primarily been carried by can-you-top-this performances from junior John Coleman (Potsdam, NY) and senior Marques Charlton (Deer Park, NY). Coleman tied his career-high with 29 points on Saturday and has topped 20 points on 13 occasions this year, while Charlton has been streakier with five 20-point games, but passing 30 points in two games this year. Charlton leads the conference in 3-pointers (59) and is also the conference frontrunner in free throw percentage (88.0%), while Coleman leads the league in field-goal percentage (57.6%). The pair are the highest scoring set of teammates in the league (36.2 ppg).
In the first meeting of the season between the two teams, St. Lawrence had three players finish in double figures, led by Kyle Edwards 16 points. However, the team's leading scorer, Brady Condlin, was held to just eight points in the first game, but ranks sixth in the Liberty League in scoring overall (16.5 ppg).