Knights come up short in second half return at Plattsburgh, 77-70
Sunday, December 31, 2017 - 7:31 am

Plattsburgh, NY – Two key 3-pointers in the final two minutes turned a one-point lead for the Clarkson University Men's Basketball team into a seven-point defeat as the Golden Knights came up short in their road game against Plattsburgh State, 77-70.

The Golden Knights concluded their non-conference slate with Saturday's game and now stand at 4-5 overall with 16 league contests left in January and February. The Cardinals improved to 5-4 on the season.

Trailing by 11 points late in the second half, Clarkson went on a 14-2 run over the course of five minutes to gain a narrow one-point advantage. However, 3-pointers from Chris Middleton and Brandon Johnson put the Cardinals back up by six when Clarkson came up empty on two straight possessions.

Liam Ellis led all scorers with 21 points, tying his career-high, and tossed in eight rebounds and four assists for Clarkson. Matt Higgins added 16 points, including four 3-pointers, and Malaquias Canery contributed 14 points and three steals. Matthew Hornak also chipped in 11 points and Gary Hanley produced 12 rebounds and four blocks for the Knights. For Plattsburgh, four players finished in double figures, led by Eli Bryant's 18 points.

On an afternoon where Clarkson struggled from the perimeter, it took nearly five minutes for the Knights to get on the scoreboard in the first half. However, once the Knights got going they quickly reversed a five-point deficit and took the lead at 10-9 following a Matt Higgins 3-pointer. Three minutes later, the Knights were still up after a Malaquias Canery jumper, but Plattsburgh responded with a quick 7-2 run in the next two minutes to reclaim the lead. Over the next six minutes the two teams exchanged the lead on a few occasions, with Clarkson's Matthew Hornak hitting a 3-pointer at the 1:30 mark to give the Knights a 28-27 advantage. Two 3-pointers by Plattsburgh in the final 90 seconds allowed the Cardinals to take a five-point lead into the locker room.

The Knights fell behind by nine in the early going of the second half, but a 10-0 run pushed the Knights back up by one when Gary Hanley converted a layup at the 14:24 mark. Plattsburgh again found enough offense to broaden its advantage to 10 points (58-48) and later to 11 (64-53) with 7:35 remaining. Clarkson chipped away at the margin with several drives to the basket from Ellis and Canery, as well as a few free throws, and the Knights finished off the comeback with two free throws from Liam Ellis at 2:33, giving the Green and Gold a 67-66 lead.

The 14-2 run by Clarkson would be halted on Plattsburgh's next possession as Chris Middleton hit a 3-pointer from the wing with a little over two minutes to go to put the Cardinals back up by a basket. Following a free throw by the Cardinals on their next possession, Clarkson had a shot blocked in the lane and Brandon Johnson hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key to put Plattsburgh up by six. Although the Knights were able to get back within five on a 3-pointer from Ellis, it was as close as Clarkson could get as Plattsburgh picked up the win.