Last weekend, both the RPI men’s and women’s basketball teams played a home game against Rochester Institute of Technology and a road game at nearby Union College. In particular, Friday’s matchups against RIT served as the final home games for the seniors that had put in four years of hard work for RPI basketball. For the men’s squad, seniors Reggie Colas, Sean Dempsey, Pat Harrington, and Nick Keefe were all recognized for their dedication to the team. For the women’s team, seniors Meg Denison, Kelly Piotrowski, and Zysnia Osepa were likewise honored.
In the opening game of Friday night’s double header, the RPI women’s basketball team struggled to score points against the visiting RIT Tigers. Throughout the first half, the women stayed within striking distance of the visitors. At the end of the first half they were down by just six points, 30-24. But RIT’s offense opened up quickly in the second half, extending its lead to 22 points before seven minutes had gone by. This lead continued to grow as missed shots for the Engineers begot open shots for the Tigers on the other end. In the end, the final score was RIT 73, RPI 49. Two important statistics told the story of the game: rebounds and field goal percentage. And it was RIT that dominated both, grabbing 27 more rebounds than RPI and shooting 43 percent to the Engineers’ 20. Leading scorers for the game were RIT’s senior Courtney Tennant with 23 and RPI’s junior Amanda Lynch who scored 11 points and added seven rebounds.
Then it was the men’s turn to play. After the early going, RIT began to take command of the contest. Starting from an 8-8 tie two minutes in, the Tigers went on an 8-0 run that included four points from guard senior Jameel Balenton. Despite this run, the Engineers hung around in the first half thanks to a balanced scoring attack in which 10 different players scored. But RIT’s sophomore JP Reagan nailed two 3-pointers in a hurry to open up the second half and despite the efforts of the home team, RIT’s great shooting was too much to handle. The final score: RIT 100-77. Key performers were: for RIT, JP Reagan, who made six of his seven attempted 3-pointers en route to a career high 26 points and for RPI, sophomore power forward Chase Almond, who scored 14 points and grabbed five rebounds, and Reggie Colas, whose last home game for the Engineers included 13 points and six rebounds.
On Saturday afternoon the women’s team returned to the court to face Union College in neighboring Schenectady, New York. The game started well for RPI, as they sprinted out to an early 14-6 lead thanks to jumpers from sophomore Ashley Clough, junior Courtney Reynolds, Piotrowski, and Lynch. But this lead quickly evaporated, and less than five minutes later, Union had retaken the lead 17-16.
Four points from freshman Kendall Davis and a jumper from Osepa allowed RPI to hold a slim edge in the contest until Union tied the game at 23 with seven minutes remaining in the first half. Then the situation got out of control. In a span of just three minutes, Union took a strangle hold on the game, making a 17-1 run that put them up by 16 points with two minutes left in the half. Two baskets by Union freshman Erin Lyons were offset by a pair of Reynolds free throws and a Lynch jumper and the half ended with a 44-28 lead for the Dutchmen.
Despite outplaying the Dutchmen in the second half, the Engineers were unable to mount a serious charge at Union’s lead the rest of the way. In the end, Union was victorious by a margin of 80-67, thus tying the season series at one win apiece for the two rivals. With the loss, the RPI women finished their season at 5-11 in the Liberty League and 7-18 overall.
Later on Saturday, the RPI men likewise wrapped up their season against rival Union. After the beating that Union took at the hands of the RPI men three weeks ago, they came out of the gate fired up, rattling off a 15-6 run to open the game. But RPI answered quickly with 3-pointers from freshman Jonathan Luster, Dempsey, and Colas to tie the game at 17. Each time Union went on a run, RPI answered with a run of its own. At the half, Union held a slim 52-48 advantage.
Two minutes into the second half, a junior Terrell Winney’s 3-pointer pushed Union’s lead back to ten. Then, a layup by sophomore Brian Hatcher five minutes later put RPI back within three, 67-64. Six points for sophomore William Hython and several free throws later, Union had again expanded its lead, this time to 12, with just nine minutes remaining. A subsequent 3-pointer for junior Josh Dugas pulled the Engineers to within five with just over six minutes left. Down the stretch the two teams traded baskets and RPI was never able to get closer than five points behind in the finals minutes. Three free throws for Union in the final 31 seconds iced a 97-89 win. Leading scorers for the Dutchmen were: Terrell Winney with 23, William Hython with 20, and freshman Kevin Wickworth with 19. For the Engineers, Josh Dugas, Jonathan Luster, and Sean Dempsey led the way with 20, 16, and 12 points respectively. With the loss, RPI finished its season at 8-17 overall and 6-10 in the Liberty League.