Naclerio, Sargent highlight Saints men's basketball 69-65 win over RPI
Graduate student Riley Naclerio netted a season-high 28 points and grabbed six rebounds, while Cale Sargent posted a career-high 12 points and helped make critical plays to lead the St. Lawrence University men's basketball team to a 69-65 win over Rensselaer in Liberty League play on Saturday afternoon at Burkman Gymnasium.
With this afternoon's win, the Saints improved to 3-4 overall and 1-1 in conference play, while Rensselaer fell to 4-3 and 1-1.Naclerio shot 11-for-21 from the floor, 2-for-6 from the arc and a perfect 4-for-4 from the line, while Sargent went 5-for-11 from the floor and 2-for-5 from the arc. Third in the Saints' lineup, Ben Crawford rounded about the double-digit scorers with 11 points and grabbed a team-best nine rebounds. Sargent recorded four steals, while Naclerio and Adeleke Karera each posted two blocks.
Rensselaer struck first, jumped out to an early lead over the Saints and accumulated a double-figure lead just about ten minutes into the first half. The Saints rallied and pushed back against the Engineers and a 3-pointer from Naclerio brought them within a five-point margin.
Sargent then posted a fast-break jumper in the paint and sunk back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Saints a 30-28 advantage at halftime.
After some back-and-forth play to open the second half, the Saints maintained a slight lead, holding off comeback attempts from the Engineers down the stretch.
A basket and an end-one, followed up by a 3-pointer from Naclerio, capped an 8-0 run for the Saints and increased their lead to nine points with about three and a half minutes remaining.
The Scarlet and Brown shot 5-for-5 from the line to secure their first league win of the season.
"We knew we had to get the win tonight," said head coach Chris Downs. "It wasn't pretty or ugly, but it was a win, which we needed to remain in league contention and we look forward to another tough Liberty League matchup against Clarkson on Tuesday night"
Patrick Mahoney led the Engineers with 26 points and nine rebounds, shooting 9-for-18 from the floor and 7-for-9 from the line. Tom Horvat recorded 17 points and Andreas Kontopidis added 10, while the two combined for eight rebounds for Rensselaer. Mason Memmelaar posted two blocks and Horvat and Jeffrey Coulter recorded two steals.
St. Lawrence combined to shoot 46 percent from the floor topping the Engineers 37 percent, but Rensselaer finished shooting 30 percent from the arc to the Saints' 29 percent.
St. Lawrence will host Clarkson on Tuesday, December 4 at 7 p.m. and Elmira on Friday December 7 at 8 p.m.