Basketball riding hot with four straight wins

The RPI men’s basketball team continued on its winning streak this past weekend as it hosted the Tri-State Shootout Tournament at the East Campus Athletic Village. Rensselaer moved up to an overall record of 6-1 with a current four-win streak.

Last Saturday, the Engineers faced the Albany College of Pharmacy Panthers in the second game of the Tri-State Shootout Tournament. Senior Tim Rupp scored the first basket in the game—a three-pointer—and managed to claim 12 of RPI’s first 14 points as his own, helping the Engineers to a 18-6 lead only five minutes in. They finished up the first half strong, outscoring ACP 11-4 in the final two-and-a-half minutes to claim an advantage of 56-23 at halftime.

In the second half, senior Ricky Philatre expanded RPI’s advantage to 73-31 after he sank three shots on consecutive possessions. Philatre finished with eight points and five rebounds in 11 minutes. The Engineers completed the game with a win, 108-51, advancing to the championship game against the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. Rupp scored a game-high of 15 points, including four baskets shot from beyond the arc. Senior Eric Anderson and junior DJ Blakemore both finished the game with 11 points each. The Engineers never fell behind the Panthers, maintaining a double-digit lead since 4:02 minutes into the game.

The Engineers returned to ECAV on Sunday for the championship game against the MCLA Trailblazers. RPI started strong, outscoring MCLA 19-9 over the first nine minutes of the game. The Trailblazers then cut a 10-point deficit down to five with 8:23 remaining in the opening half. Next, freshman Daniel Martin scored six of the next eight points to push the host’s advantage back to 28-19. RPI continued to hold its lead for the remainder of the half, finishing with a nine-point advantage, 35-26.

The second half was a back-and-forth battle as the Engineers tried to hold onto their lead while the Trailblazers were trying to gain their first lead in the game. MCLA was able to get within one point with 11:32 remaining, but Philatre answered with a basket of his own, and juniors Ike Rodriguez and Jeremy Bull quickly brought RPI’s lead back up to seven. MCLA battled back in the final two minutes, cutting a 65-56 deficit to just two with 37 seconds remaining, but free throws from Rodriguez, Rupp, and Bull sealed the win for the Engineers.

Philatre recorded a team-high 20 points and eight rebounds to lead the RPI team to a 72-66 victory over MCLA, earning him the Tournament MVP title. Joining him on the All-Tournament Team was Rupp, who netted 17 points along with three rebounds and an assist, while shooting six of 13 from the field. 

The Engineers will be back in action on December 30, when they host Middlebury College at the East Campus Arena at 7 pm. They start their Liberty League season against St. Lawrence University on January 15.