In the early goings of the game, Clarkson University connected on their first four shot attempts and raced out to an 8-2 lead. Later, a steal by Golden Knight forward John Coleman resulted in a two-on-one for Clarkson and an easy layup for Coleman assisted by Golden Knight guard Felix Abongo. RPI kept the game close in the opening 10 minutes of the game, though. Consecutive baskets by junior forward Brian Hatcher made the score Clarkson 14, RPI 10.
Starting midway through the first half, the Golden Knights went on a 10-2 run to open up a 24-12 lead. RPI senior shooting guard Josh Dugas broke this run with a pull-up 3-pointer at the 6:15 mark in the first half.
The situation continued to get worse for the Engineers late in the first half. Clarkson followed Dugas’ three with another 10-2 run, capped by an Abongo 3-pointer off of a Coleman pass. At the end of the first half, Dugas fired up a last second jump shot and scored to pull the Engineers to within 15 at the break.
In the second half, the Engineers rallied. Sophomore guard Nate Kane drilled a 3-pointer then muscled inside for a hard-earned basket to cut the lead to 39-28 three minutes into the second half. Then Dugas found Hatcher open on the left wing for a much needed triple.
The lead swelled back to 13 after Coleman scored twice. Junior forward Tyler Gendron answered with a 3-pointer of his own to pull Rensselaer to within 10. Later, with 10:36 remaining Kane pulled down a rebound at the defensive end and passed it ahead to a wide open Gendron for an easy fast break deuce. Down 12 again with six and a half minutes remaining, sophomore guard Jonathan Luster drove into the middle and found an open Dugas in the corner for another Engineer 3-pointer. Then, only a minute later, Hatcher blocked a Golden Knight guard Jeremy Liss layup and subsequently scored a basket and free throw on the offensive end.
Poor free throw shooting by Clarkson gave RPI a chance to take the lead, and they did. Once again, Hatcher drained a three assisted by Dugas to give the Engineers a 54-53 edge. Clarkson stole the lead right back, however, as guard Charles McAllister made two free throws.
With a minute and a half left, Coleman spun to the hoop and scored to give the Golden Knights a 57-54 lead. After a Chase Almond jumper cut the lead to one, Clarkson made two of four foul shots to finish off the upset-minded Engineers.
In victory, Coleman led all scorers with 18 points, while Abongo finished with 13 points and six rebounds. For the Engineers, Hatcher scored 15 points, nabbed nine boards, and blocked three shots. Dugas led the Engineers in points with 16 and assists with four. Lastly, big man Almond shot 7-of-10 from the field and finished with a solid 14 points.
Clarkson improved to 18-5 with the win while Rensselaer fell to a record of 6-17. This weekend, RPI will play its final two games of the season, first at Vassar College on Friday, then finishing at home against Bard College on Sunday.