Rochester, NY - For the second straight year the Clarkson University Men's Basketball team won its final game of the season and finished with a winning record in the Liberty League, but the Golden Knights came up a game short of the conference playoffs despite their 77-63 victory over RIT on Saturday afternoon.
The Golden Knights ended the campaign with a record of 9-7 in the Liberty League and 17-8 overall for a .680 winning percentage, the highest mark for the program since the 1947-48 season (11-5 overall for .6875). The Tigers ended the year at 9-16 and 5-11. Clarkson was eliminated from playoff contention when Skidmore and Rensselaer both won games on Friday night. Under the new tie-breaking procedures set for 2012-13, the Knights lost the tie-breaker to the Thoroughbreds.
Saturday's game was one of streaks for both squads. RIT started off hot with an 8-2 lead, but within two minutes, an 8-0 run by the Knights gave the visitors a two-point advantage. Clarkson wasn't done with making runs in the first half, edging out by double digits on a 15-3 streak over the course of five minutes that saw John Coleman (Potsdam, NY) score 10 points on his own. However, the final basket of the streak at 3:23 was the last time that Clarkson would score, and the Tigers finished the half with a 12-0 run to take a two-point lead into the locker room.
The second half was steadier as RIT had numerous four-point advantages in the early going as the teams traded baskets. However, midway through the half Clarkson would use one final run to swing the momentum one final time in its favor. Clarkson scored 14 consecutive points in just over three minutes to turn a two-point deficit into a 12-point lead, and the though the Tigers would edge back into the game slightly, the Knights held a three-possession advantage for the remainder of the contest.
Both teams shot above 50 percent from the field, so the difference in the contest turned to the minute details as the Knights turned the ball over just 11 times compared to the Tigers' 17, and Clarkson also committed only nine fouls in the entire game while RIT had 14 foul infractions. The difference was found on the free throw line as the Knights were a flawless 14-for-14 in the game.
John Coleman led all scorers with 24 points, shooting 10-for-15 from the field. Jerry Coleman (Potsdam, NY) added in 11 points on 5-for-8 shooting in his final collegiate game and Charles McAllister (Olathe, KS) added in 10 point son 4-for-7 shooting from off the bench. Freshman Felix Abongo (Beacon, NY) continued his strong week with 16 points and six assists for the Knights.
For the Tigers, four finished in double-figures, led by Eric Travis with 16 points on 8-for-15 shooting. Jameel Balenton tossed in 13 points, missing only one of his five attempts from the field, while Nick Dobson and Mike D'Amico each scored 10 points.