Knights men's bball downs Saints to stick in playoff race
Wednesday, February 14, 2018 - 7:48 am

Canton, NY – Junior Matthew Hornak tied his career-high with 16 points and Matt Higgins notched a team-best 18 as the Clarkson University Men's Basketball team downed an undermanned St. Lawrence squad 81-65 in Liberty League action Tuesday evening.

The Golden Knights improved to 11-12 overall and 7-9 in the Liberty League, tying with three other teams for fifth place in the conference. The Saints fell to 5-18 and 3-13. Clarkson will face a pair of playoff contenders this weekend when it takes on Skidmore College on Friday and Rensselaer on Saturday.

Clarkson's two shooting guards carried the play for the Knights, with Hornak delivering 13 of his 16 points in the first half and Higgins recording 14 of his 18 points in the second half. Clarkson shot close to 50% from beyond the 3-point arc, making a season-high 15 shots from long range on 31 attempts.

The first few minutes of the game neither team could get much going in the way of offense, as both combined for just two field goals in the first four minutes of the contest. Midway through the half, junior Matthew Hornak buried two 3-pointers in a stretch of just 45 seconds, forcing the Saints to take a timeout. After Gary Hanley converted a layup on the right side of the basket at 6:36 to make it 25-15, the Saints found their stroke from the outside with Steve Low hitting a pair of long-range shots. Chris Miner then converted on a fastbreak layup to get St. Lawrence within two, but the Knights countered with a run at the end of the half. Hornak, who takes well over 75 percent of his shots from beyond the 3-point line, went inside for a pair of layups on the baseline and helped push the Knights advantage to 10 at the break (37-27).

Hornak scored 13 in the first half, shooting 5-for-9 overall and 3-for-6 from beyond the arc. Hanley also chipped in eight points and five rebounds.

Hornak opened Clarkson's scoring with a 3-pointer in the first minute of the second half, tying his career-high with 16 points. That basket was the last that Hornak would make, however, as Higgins became the key cog in Clarkson's offense. The sophomore guard hit a trio of 3-pointers in a stretch of less than three minutes to put the Knights up 51-35 with a little less than 16 minutes left. Clarkson extended the advantage to 18 on its next possession, but St. Lawrence wouldn't let the game become a blowout. Three times the Saints got within 11 and finally reduced the deficit to 10 at the 8:19 mark. That was as close as the margin would get, however, as Jason Phelps hit back-to-back 3-pointers to extend the advantage to 17. With 3:40 remaining, Higgins then curled around a pick and drove down the lane for an emphatic dunk, stretching the gap to 20 points, and the Knights simply cruised through the waning moments to claim the win.

Besides the efforts from Hornak and Higgins, Gary Hanley came within a rebound of a double-double with 12 points and nine rebounds and Roburt Welch came off the bench for 10 points in 18 minutes. Phelps also added nine points in 17 minutes. For St. Lawrence, Chris Miner finished with 22 points and 12 rebounds, doing nearly half of his damage from the free throw line with a 10-for-13 effort. Pierre Coffy added in 13 points while Dom DeRegis and Steve Low each scored 10 for St. Lawrence.