New York, NY – Shooting nearly 70 percent overall in the second half and overtime, New York University was able to turn around a double-digit deficit at the half and claim a 87-77 victory over the Clarkson University Men's Basketball team on the opening day of the NYU Holiday Classic on Friday evening.
The Golden Knights fell to 5-3 overall on the season, while NYU improved to 8-1. Clarkson will face the United States Merchant Marine Academy at 5:00 pm on Saturday.
A couple of lengthy scoring runs highlighted the first half for the Golden Knights, but it was slow going early on. The game appeared as if it would be closely-contested throughout as neither team could gain more than a two-point advantage in the first 10 minutes as both squads were responding on the offensive end after made baskets by the opposition. A Dylan Hodownes (Honeoye Falls, NY) 3-pointer at the 10:02 mark sparked the Knights' first long run, however, as Clarkson scored 11 straight points in the course of two minutes. Hodownes began the streak with a 3-pointer and ended it with another, giving the Knights a 26-15 edge at the 8:01 mark. The Violets responded with a short run of their own to cut the lead to five (28-23) with just under five minutes remaining. However, the Knights nailed three 3-pointers in the next two-plus minutes and scored 13 straight with the fall of a Jeremy Liss (Vestal, NY) layup at 1:36 (41-23). NYU finally ended its four-minute scoreless streak to go into intermission with a 16-point deficit.
While Clarkson shot nearly 60 percent from the floor (17-for-29) in the first half, including six of nine 3-point attempts, its biggest advantage came on NYU turnovers. The Violets committed 14 miscues, and Clarkson converted 16 points off those mistakes, while limiting itself to just three turnovers in the first 20 minutes. The Knights taking care of the ball was key, though, since NYU held a distinct advantage on the boards (17-6).
It took little time for NYU to get back into contention in the second half as Clarkson struggled to score. Jeremy Liss scored on a pair of free throws on the first possession of the half for the Knights, but Clarkson wouldn't score a field goal until Liss made a shot at the 14:44 mark. By that point, NYU had climbed back to within striking distance and trailed by only three a few moments later, thanks to a 9-for-11 performance from the field in first eight minutes of action. On NYU's 10th make in 12 tries, the Violets took their first lead in 20 minutes at 52-51, and while the Knights' struggles continued, NYU maintained their collective hot hands.
Clarkson was able to weather the lengthy stretch of hot shooting from the Violets thanks to its early sizeable lead in the first half, but the Knights inability to register second chances while limiting NYU's started to hurt them. The Knights didn't register a rebound in the second half until more than 14 minutes had expired. The board seemed to change Clarkson's luck, too, as the Knights pulled back to within one (60-59) after trailing by seven just a few moments earlier. Despite a tough second half overall, Clarkson was able to regain the lead at 3:37 when Marques Charlton (Deer Park, NY) buried a pair of free throws. Following a missed free throw by NYU, Clarkson pushed its lead to three on a long-range jumper from beyond the arc by Charlton at 2:54 and it looked as if the Knights had righted the ship, but a lay in from Evan Kupferberg and another make by Costis Gontikas at 1:36 gave the Violets a one-point advantage (65-64). Clarkson reclaimed the lead on a Felix Abongo (Beacon, NY) layup, but lost it right back. However, Charlton hit a free throw with 12 seconds to go in the half to send the game to overtime.
In the extra session, the Knights fell behind off a 3-pointer and were back to within one after a John Coleman (Potsdam, NY) basket, but the next three minutes saw the Knights offense sputter when it could least afford to, going 0-for-3 from the field with a pair of turnovers to fall behind by 10. The Knights made a pair of 3-pointers in the final minutes to make things interesting, but the Violets held the advantage with free throws down the stretch.
A glance at the stat sheet showed that the two teams had entirely different ways of attacking the game. NYU shot better than 60 percent from the floor, including 20-for-29 (68.9%) over the final 25 minutes, but the Violets committed 27 turnovers. NYU's shooting performance was aided considerably by second chances as the Violets had an overwhelming 45-13 edge in rebounds. Clarkson shot below 50 percent for the game (30-for-65), but a 9-for-21 performance from beyond the 3-point arc helped make up for its lack of second chances. The Knights also committed only 12 turnovers, allowing the team to take 14 more shots in the game than its opponent.
John Coleman led the team with 21 points, his fifth 20-point game in eight outings this year, and added in six rebounds, five steals and three assists. Marques Charlton chipped in 17 points, shooting 5-for-13 overall but 4-for-5 from beyond the arc. Felix Abongo added 15 points and Jeremy Liss had a career-high 12 points on 5-for-6 shooting.
For NYU, Evan Kupferberg had 31 points, going 10-for-14 from the field and 11-for-12 from the free throw line, as well as 14 rebounds. Costis Gontikas added 21 points on 9-for-12 shooting and also produced eight boards.