POTSDAM -- Junior Marques Charlton (Deer Park, NY) hit a 15-foot jumper from the wing as time expired to lift the Clarkson University Men’s Basketball team to a 65-63 victory over Ithaca College in the championship game of the North Country Invitational Saturday afternoon at Alumni Gymnasium.
The Golden Knights improved to 2-0 and will face Morrisville State next Tuesday, while Ithaca saw its record evened at 1-1. In the consolation game, Berkeley (NY) beat Potsdam, 95-85.
Clarkson scored on its first possession of the game and held Ithaca without a basket until the 14:59 mark when Sean Rossi hit a 3-pointer to end its streak of six misses from the field.
Ithaca would slowly get into a rhythm and gradually worked its way back into contention, tying the score up at 19 and taking the lead on a free throw from Travis Warech at 6:39. That would be the last time Ithaca would have a lead in the first half, as the Bombers and Golden Knights traded points for the remainder of the half to find themselves tied 30-30 at the break.
Clarkson opened the second half with a pair of 3-pointers from Charlton and Felix Abongo (Beacon, NY) and the Knights extended the advantage to eight points after a Nate Uline (Gansevoort, NY) layup at 16:16.
However, Ithaca went on a 9-0 run to take the lead over the next three minutes and the two teams found themselves in a similar situation to the end of the first half, as the largest lead for the remainder of the game was only four points.
A free throw from Jordan Healey at 1:04 tied the score up for a seventh time in the game, but an offensive rebounds and put back by John Coleman (Potsdam, NY) gave Clarkson a 63-61 advantage with 23 seconds remaining.
The Bombers chose not to take the last shot, instead forcing the issue on Clarkson and a layup by Eli Maravich with 12 seconds to go knotted the game up a final time.
On the last possession of the contest, Charlton came up against Ithaca’s Sean Rossi in an isolation play at the top of the key.
With approximately five seconds to go, Charlton started to drive to the basket, but Rossi was able to strip him briefly of possession. Unfortunately for Rossi, he couldn’t complete the steal, as Charlton spun and picked up the loose ball inside the 3-point arc and calmly buried a 15-footer from off the elbow as time expired to give Clarkson the win.
John Coleman led the Knights with 14 points, shooting 7-for-9 from the floor, and added in 15 rebounds while Charlton contributed 13 points. Jerry Coleman (Potsdam, NY) added 12 points and Abongo threw in 10 points for Clarkson.
For Ithaca, Eli Maravich had a game-high 17 points, making all four of his 3-point field goal attempts and shooting 6-for-7 from the field. Frank Mitchell added nine points and nine rebounds for the Bombers.
In the consolation game, Potsdam began the game by falling behind by nine points in the early going as Berkeley forced three turnovers and held the Bears scoreless on five shots, and the Knights were able to continue their dominance in the early going, extending the lead to 12 points in the first seven minutes (19-7).
However, in less than four minutes, Potsdam was back in the game following a lay in from Colin Peterson at 9:39, cutting the deficit to just two points (23-21). A pair of free throws from Curtis Pierce had the Bears within a single point with just over six minutes remaining, but Berkeley would never relinquish the lead as Jovan Bovell hit a pair of free throws in the waning seconds of the half for a 46-39 advantage at intermission.
Jose Stable of Berkeley had 16 points in the first half on 6-for-8 shooting and Bovell added 11 points on 4-for-5 shooting. For Potsdam, Curtis Pierce had 10 points while Rob Duquette came through with nine points and five rebounds.
In the second half, Berkeley continued to hit from all angles, shooting 57.7 percent from the floor (15-for-26) while Potsdam had trouble at 40.0 percent (12-for-30). Despite those woes, the Bears would make a double-digit deficit almost disappear entirely late in the game, but a run of 3-pointers from by Berkeley, as well as foul trouble for both squads, allowed the Knights to pull away.
The two teams combined to shoot 73 free throws in the game, with Potsdam going 29-for-38 from the line and Berkeley going 24-for-35 on free throws.
In the end, the Knights had a pair of 30-plus point scorers in Kaseem Williams, who had 36 points on 10-for-17 shooting from the floor and 13-for-16 shooting from the line, and Jose Stable, who tossed in 31 points on 11-for-17 shooting.
Williams also had eight assists while Stable contributed eight rebounds, five assists, and three steals. Jovan Bovell also scored 15 points, missing only two shots in his eight attempts.