Knights men's basketball can't stop RPI strong shooting in 96-84 loss
Potsdam, NY – Freshman Chris Hulbert tossed in 24 points, including 18 in the second half, but it was not enough as the Clarkson University Men's Basketball team dropped a 96-84 decision to Rensselaer on Friday evening at Alumni Gymnasium
The Golden Knights fell to 0-6 overall and 0-1 in the Liberty League, while RPI moved to 4-2 and 1-0 in conference games. Clarkson takes on Skidmore College at 4:00 pm on Saturday afternoon, while the Engineers head down the road to play St. Lawrence.Play was even for most of the first half as Hulbert hit a pair of 3-pointers in the early going to put the Knights up in the opening minutes. Roburt Welch hit a 3-pointer at 13:51 and Matt Higgins followed with a mid-range jumper on the next possession to give the Knights a 17-13 advantage. That was the last that the Knights would hold the lead, however, as Mitchell Wayand nailed a pair of 3-pointers over the next 45 seconds to put the Engineers up by two. RPI expanded its lead by a few points, but Clarkson rallied to draw within two on three occasions, including at the 1:58 mark when Liam Ellis knocked down a 3-pointer to make it 39-37. RPI's Andreas Kontopidis responded with a three at the other end and Patrick Mahoney hit a pair of free throws in the final minutes to give the Engineers a five-point lead (44-39) at the break.
The Engineers' height advantage allowed them to get good looks at the basket, as RPI shot 60.7% from the field (17-for-28) in the first half.
The Engineers did not drop off much in the second half, shooting 15-for-27 from the field (55.6%) and taking advantage of Clarkson's struggles from distance. Matt Higgins hit a 3-pointer at the 18:23 mark to get the Knights within four (46-42), but RPI rattled off 10 points in less than two minutes to turn a close game into a double-digit deficit for Clarkson. The Green and Gold briefly got back within 10, but that was as close as they would get as RPI steadily increased its lead into the teens and all the way up to 20 when Kontopidis hit a 3-pointer at the 4:34 mark to make the score 85-65. Clarkson ended its drought from distance when Hulbert hit a 3-pointer at the 1:44 mark to draw the Knights within 11, and another long-range shot from Hulbert was made with 22 seconds to go to again bring Clarkson within three, but the margin was too much to overcome.
Hulbert shot 9-for-19 from the floor, including four 3-pointers, for his game-high 24 points, while senior Liam Ellis added 20 points, shooting 6-for-9 from the field and 7-for-7 from the free throw line, and four assists. Matt Higgins also chipped in 13 points and six rebounds.
For RPI, Andres Kontopidis tossed in 20 points with an efficient evening of shooting, going 5-for-6 from the field with four 3-pointers and 6-for-7 from the free throw line. Tom Horvat added 18 points, producing 13 in the second half. Dom Black came off the bench for 16 points on 5-for-6 shooting while starters Patrick Mahoney (15 points) and Marcus Giese (11 points) also recorded double figures.