RPI men’s basketball recovered from consecutive losses on the road by hosting back-to-back wins against Vassar College and Hobart College. Against Vassar, the Engineers jumped out to a 12-2 lead in less than two minutes, including eight points by senior co-captain Matthew Pooley. RPI continued to dominate the early proceedings, reaching a lead of 12 points multiple times and hitting a 15-point lead with 1:40 remaining. The Engineers were able to hold onto the lead and the half finished 55-40 in favor of the home team.
Once again RPI started well, jumping out to a 23 point lead just two minutes into the second half. After having the lead hit 75- 49 with three-pointer from junior, RPI slowly let Vassar back into the game. Vassar started to put on the pressure and got the Engineers’ lead down to eight points with just under three minutes remaining. However, RPI responed well and retook control of the game, with Pooley scoring eight of the final 10 points for the Engineers. The game finished RPI 104-91, and Pooley scored a team-high 27 points while junior Brendan Farley scored 11 and added four assists.
In a similar script, Pooley led the Engineers over Hobart with 27 points by a score of 87-81. Hobart possessed a 10-point lead halfway through the period but RPI fought back behind 51 percent shooting from the floor. When their comeback had finished at the end of the half, the Engineers had a 47-39 lead.
The second half was relatively even as RPI’s lead remained around eight for the beginning of the half. Halfway through, the score was 66-53 in favor of the hosts and the lead remained around that for the next five minutes. Just like the preceding game, Hobart had a late burst, reducing its deficit to three points with 41 seconds left. However, free throws by senior Matt Dixon and juniors Jamie Zajac and Daniel Martin brought the lead to six, and the game finished RPI 87-81.
Traveling to Schenectady for a battle with Union College, the Engineers saw their win streak fail to reach three as they dropped to contest 108-99. RPI shot poorly during the first half, going 10 for 41 from the field and seeing Union take a 50-36 lead into the intermission.
The second half did not go much better for the Engineers as Union maintained a lead of about 20 points for most of the period despite RPI going 15-31 from beyond the arc. While RPI’s shooting was hot, Union kept its lead with even sharper shooting, going 24-34 from the whole floor. RPI began to make a comeback with three minutes remaining when it was down 102-82. Unfortunately, the Engineers were only able to go on a 17-6 run to finish the game, unable to complete the comeback.
The Engineers are now 8-10 overall with a 5-5 Liberty League record. RPI hits the court again on February 7 at Vassar College following a break this week.