Knights men's basketball hot from the perimeter but fall short at Rensselaer
Troy, NY – Rensselaer scored 18 points off turnovers to offset a hot-shooting performance from the Clarkson University Men's Basketball team as the Golden Knights dropped their conference opener to the Engineers 77-66 in Liberty League action Friday night.
The Golden Knights fell to 2-3 on the season and 0-1 in the Liberty League and will look to get back on track against 20th-ranked Skidmore College on Saturday afternoon. Rensselaer improved to 4-1 and 1-0.Neither team had much difficulty on offense as both squads shot 50 percent or better from the floor. For the second straight game, the Golden Knights made 50 percent of their 3-pointers (14-for-28) but also shot only 50 percent from the free throw line (4-for-8).
Clarkson got an early spark from Malaquias Canery in the early going as the junior guard came off the bench to provide the Knights with some instant offense on drives to the basket. The Knights led 12-7 in the first five minutes of the game, but the Engineers quickly regrouped and scored 12 straight points in less than three minutes to take a 19-12 lead. Clarkson committed some costly turnovers down the stretch in the first half, falling behind by as many as 14 (34-20). Back-to-back 3-pointers from Matt Higgins allowed the Knights to crawl back within eight, but Rensselaer finished out the half with a 10-point advantage.
Clarkson shot 52.4% from the floor overall and mad five 3-pointers, but the Knights went just 1-for-4 from the free throw line and had 10 turnovers in the first half.
At the start of the second half, the Golden Knights got hot from the perimeter, making five straight 3-pointers to cut the deficit down to just two points (45-43) with just five minutes expired from the clock. Although a miss broke the streak, Matt Higgins made another 3-pointer to give Clarkson its first lead since early in the first half. The advantage was short-lived, however, as Rensselaer responded with a three at the other end from Asa Barnhill. Clarkson tied the game at 48-48, but the Engineers followed up with a 10-0 run, and though the Knights came back to within three when Matthew Hornak buried a shot from beyond the arc with 5:41 to go, that was as close as Clarkson could get. Down by five following another Higgins 3-pointer, Rensselaer pushed its advantage back to 10 with two free throws and a clutch 3-pointer from Bard Featherston with 1:33 to go. Clarkson missed on its next three possessions and didn't have enough time left for a comeback.
Canery scored 20 points on 8-for-14 shooting to lead the Knights, while Higgins went 6-for-10 from the arc to toss in 18 points. Both Liam Ellis and Hornak each contributed 10 points for the Knights, with Ellis locating his teammates for four assists. Four players finished in double figures for RPI, including a game-high 25 points for Tom Horvat, who went 10-for-18 from the floor. Featherston and Barnhill contributed 13 and 12 points, respectively, and Patrick Mahoney added 11 points in 12 minutes off the bench.