Men’s basketball strong in home debut

RPI men’s basketball played their first games of the season this past weekend at Worcester Polytechnic Institute on Saturday and versus Berkeley College on Sunday. New Head Coach Mark Gilbride started off well, leading his team to a 1-1 record after the opening weekend.

On Saturday, Rensselaer jumped ahead early, taking a 14-6 lead six minutes in after sophomore Nate Kane drilled a 3-pointer. But the other Engineers came back quickly. At the 7:33 mark, guard Sam Longwell knocked down a three to put WPI on top, 21-20. Another three by Longwell and a three by Aaron Davis put Worcester up by nine three minutes later.

Worcester led by as many as 18 in the second half, but RPI trimmed the lead to 10 with three minutes remaining. WPI would hang on though, winning 66-55 over Rensselaer. In a losing effort, junior power forward Chase Almond scored 13 points and secured six rebounds. Junior forwards Brian Hatcher and Tyler Gendron each scored 10 points. Gendron added eight rebounds, while Hatcher nabbed seven.

The following afternoon, the Engineers stayed a step ahead of visiting Berkeley the whole way, as the Knights’ only lead was 2-0. One minute into the game. 3-pointers by senior guard Josh Dugas and sophomore guard Jonathan Luster gave Rensselaer a 7-point cushion with 11:22 left in the first half. Later, a three by freshman Asa Barnhill put RPI up 37-30.

A balanced scoring attack in the second half allowed the Engineers to expand and hold on to their lead down the stretch. The Engineers earned their first win of the season, finishing off Berkeley 81-61. Almond scored 18 points and hauled in 12 rebounds to lead the Engineers to victory. Hatcher and Dugas each added 11 points. Dugas and Luster led the team in assists with four each. Almond also recorded three blocks, while Hatcher tallied two of his own.

The Engineers don’t compete again until Tuesday, November 25 against Sage Colleges of Albany.