Rensselaer drops two straight, currently 10-12

Men’s basketball defeats Vassar College, falls to Rochester Institute of Technology, Hobart College

SOPHOMORE GUARD NICK KEEFE LEAPS for the ball in a recent home game at the East Campus Arena. The men’s basketball team finished the week with a 1-2 record.

RPI had its offense clicking in a 100-89 victory over Vassar College for its second win in consecutive games. However, the following contests against the Rochester Institute of Technology and Hobart College were dropped with back-to-back defeats.

The Engineers started well against Vassar with consecutive threes by junior Jamie Zajac and senior Matthew Pooley giving them the 6-2 lead after only a minute and 14 seconds. Vassar responded and managed to tie the game at eight apiece, but then RPI went on a 13-3 run. Halfway through the opening stanza, a layup by senior captain Matt Dixon made the game 31-15 in favor of the Engineers. RPI continued to dominate the half, rarely letting Vassar get within 10 points. Pooley led the way with 17 first half points as the Engineers shot 15-31 from the field and held a 43-35 lead at the break.

In the second half, the point totals sky rocketed as each team put up over 50 points each. However, it was Vassar that started better, bringing the score to 51-50 and reducing their deficit greatly. The Engineers began to heat up again, especially from beyond the arc as treys by juniors Brendan Farley, and Chris Almodovar, sophomore Nick Keefe, and Zajac brought RPI’s lead to 72-61 with ten minutes remaining.

The rest of the game became a virtual stalemate with both sides scoring points but unable to repeatedly stop the other. This obviously favored the leaders and RPI closed out the game with the victory. Pooley finished with 27 points as the Engineers shot 66.67 percent in the second half on their way to their sixth game with more than 100 points.

The following game against rivals RIT clearly did not go the way RPI would have liked. The Engineers from Troy were unable to replicate their shooting prowess from the previous game, especially from beyond the arc. RPI struggled the whole game going 14-54 from three point land over the course of the whole game.

RPI started well and were able to get a three-point gap within the first minute. But from there, RIT pounced and put RPI under pressure as they gained a 20-10 advantage with 13 minutes remaining in the half. RPI tried to comeback as they saw their deficit extend to 14 points and they were able to reduce it to six points before halftime thanks to a late jumper by Pooley after a series of missed threes.

RPI started well after the break and tied to game at several points. A lot of hard work gave the Engineers a three point advantage twice, once with four and a half minutes remaining and another with three and a half remaining. However, once RPI lost the lead after its second advantage it couldn’t get it back. RIT finished the game with an 81-76 advantage over RPI.

Despite a more solid offensive performance than the one against RIT, RPI still failed to beat Hobart, losing 104-89. An even first half resulted in a 50-49 advantage for Hobart. RPI pulled close at the end with points in the final minutes by sophomore Pat Harrington and Pooley but they had to settle for a one point deficit at halftime.

RPI started the second half the better of the two teams, getting a three point lead early into the half. However, a Hobart three gave them the lead with 17:18 remaining. From then one there was no looking back as Hobart suddenly had a 16-point head with 12 minutes remaining. RPI saw its deficit even hit 20 points during the period. RPI could only play to kept the game close and they lost with a 15-point disadvantage.

The loss let Hobart clinch the Liberty League title while RPI dropped to 10-12 overall and 7 -7 in the league. RPI takes on Skidmore College this Friday at 7 pm, and Clarkson University on Saturday at 4 pm.