Troy, NY - With the game on the line on the final possession, a Marques Charlton (Deer Park, NY) 3-pointer didn't find its mark for the Clarkson University Men's Basketball team and the Golden Knights suffered a second straight narrow defeat, this time falling to Rensselaer 71-69 on Saturday afternoon.
The Golden Knights fell to 7-6 overall and 1-3 in the Liberty League, while Rensselaer moved to 6-8 overall and 4-1. Clarkson's three conference losses have come by a combined 13 points, including last night's double overtime defeat. The Knights will look to get back on track next weekend when they travel to play Vassar and Bard.
It took some time for Clarkson to find its scoring rhythm in the early going as the Knights went just 1-for-12 to open the game. Rensselaer was using its normal run-and-gun style, with possessions generally lasting less than 10 seconds, but fortunately neither team was able to shoot particularly well from the field. Trailing by eight points midway through the half (22-14), Felix Abongo (Beacon, NY) helped Clarkson break out of its early slump and the final five minutes saw Clarkson score 18 points to take an eight-point lead (41-33) into the locker room. After the tough start, Clarkson shot 17-for-29 from the floor and was still taking care of the ball despite the Engineers ball-pressure.
In the second half, Clarkson extended its lead to 10 points (45-35), but then went cold again, allowing Rensselaer to quickly climb back into the contest. Rensselaer tied the game at 52-52 and took the lead with 11:38 to go. Though Clarkson would make sure that RPI would never run away with the contest, the Golden Knights could never reclaim the lead with their rough shooting performance. Clarkson trailed by six with 2:35 to go and baskets from Charles McAllister (Olathe, KS) and John Coleman (Potsdam, NY) pulled the Knights to within two, but Charlton's last chance 3-pointer rimmd out.
Clarkson shot just 11-for-35 in the second half and was 6-for-24 in the game from beyond the 3-point arc. One bright spot for the Knights is that the team held the Engineers, who entered the game averaging over 93 points per game, to a season-low 71 points, 11 points less than Rensselaer's previous low for the year.
Marques Charlton led the Knights with 21 points and also added in eight rebounds, four assists and a pair of steals. John Coleman tossed in 14 points and had 11 rebounds and three steals, and Abongo matched him with 14 points, also contributing 14 rebounds.