Basketball defeats Vassar, Bard to end season

SENIOR GUARD JOSH DUGAS DRIVES to the basket against Clarkson. This past weekend, the Engineers defeated Vassar College and Bard College.

On Friday, men’s basketball traveled to Vassar College for a Liberty League road game. Early, it appeared as though RPI would win in a rout. Baskets by junior forwards Chase Almond and Brian Hatcher and a 3-pointer by senior guard Josh Dugas gave the Engineers a commanding 9-2 lead. But, Vassar went on a run of its own, scoring six unanswered points.

Later, junior forward Craig Fitzgerald nabbed an offensive rebound and dished out to an open Dugas for another 3-pointer. Then, sophomore guard Jonathan Luster scored a transition two off a steal by junior forward Tyler Gendron to put RPI back up by six.

The first half was characterized by strong defense and minimal offensive opportunities for both sides. Both teams made just eight field goals in the half, and combined to make a paltry three 3-pointers on 23 attempts.

Early in the second half, Brewer guard Tony Calleti drilled two consecutive jump shots to cut the RPI lead to 31-28 with 14:37 remaining. This time, it was sophomore guard Nate Kane who stepped up. On the next RPI possession, Kane drained a big triple to put the Engineers back up by six points.

Later, Hatcher found Luster open at the top of the key for another Rensselaer 3-pointer to expand the lead to nine. Once again, Vassar came back. Junior guard Erikson Wasyl nailed two straight 3-point attempts to cut the RPI lead to 43-40. At the three-minute mark, forward Spencer Einhorn stole the ball and Wasyl scored an easy layup to put the Brewers to within one.

Dugas took over, driving inside and making a tough two-point jumper to give RPI a 2-point lead. Two failed possessions for Vassar resulted in three additional Dugas free throws to give the Engineers a 50-45 advantage.

The game ended with the Engineers on top, 52-47. Dugas finished with 17 points and shot four of six from beyond the arc. Gendron and Hatcher each recorded nine rebounds while Almond finished with 10 points and five boards.

On Sunday, RPI returned to East Campus Arena for its final game of the season versus Bard College. Midway through the opening half, the Engineers held a slim 13-12 edge. But this lead swelled to double digits thanks to a late 18-8 run to close the first half.

A 9-0 Engineer run spurred by Dugas midway through the second half put the game out of reach for the visiting Raptors.

Down the stretch, Gendron scored eight of RPI’s final 11 points to help the Engineers coast to a 60-41 win. Gendron finished with 23 points to lead all scorers and added six rebounds. Almond tallied nine rebounds, eight points, and three blocks while his frontcourt mate Hatcher finished with 10 boards, nine points, and six rejections.

With the wins, the Engineers finished an otherwise disappointing season on a high note, wrapping up the season with an overall record of 8-17.