At 4 pm on Saturday, Rensselaer confronted Hobart College in Geneva, NY, where they swallowed their sixth failure in the Liberty League with only a three-point deficit. In the first half, Hobart successfully interrupted the Engineers’ pace. Not only did they steal the ball from Rensselaer five times, but the Engineers also made several poor passes and ‘contributed’ 10 turnovers to Hobart. Senior Chase Almond and freshman Tom Horvat made several good assists, rebounds, and shots, but also a couple of turnovers. Although RPI tied Hobart with four three-point shots and had a higher two-point goal percentage, they only scored 25 points while Hobart scored 35. The first half ended with a good layup play by Horvat in the paint. Because RPI made fewer attempts and shots, they greatly fell behind in the first half.
In the second half, the Engineers took a more active role in the game and improved their performance. RPI was able to suppress Hobart at the beginning of the second half. Contributions from Almond, Horvat, junior Jonathan Luster, and freshman Marcus Giese helped the Engineers overtake the lead at 3:49 in the second half with better shooting percentages. Later, RPI capitalized on their opponents’ turnovers and chances for free throws. At 6:15, Rensselaer maximized its lead to 44-38 with a free throw by Giese. However, after several missed layups by both RPI and Hobart, Hobart took advantage of the troubled waters and caught up at 8:17 from only one point behind. A three-point shot by Horvat, assisted by sophomore Asa Barnhill, managed to suppress Hobart again for two more minutes. But, ignited by a strong three-point goal at 10:06, Hobart finally found their pace after a one-minute deadlock in the game where no players scored. Then, Hobart retook the lead at 11:38 after sophomore Luke Ruddy made a three-pointer assisted by junior Pete Drescher. Afterwards, Rensselaer took a more active strategy to capitalize Hobart’s turnover and three-point goal chances, tying the game twice at 12:26 and 13:40 respectively, and even overtaking the lead until the final two minutes of play. Under the intense atmosphere, Horvat missed a three-point goal. The ball was rebounded by Ruddy and passed to freshman Sean McKinless at last, who seized the chance to score a three-point goal. RPI could not manage to win back its lead, so Hobart narrowly won 61-64. Had the Engineers made better use of the benched players like Hobart did, perhaps they would have increased their odds of winning.
RPI will play its tenth Liberty League game away against Clarkson University this Saturday. If they win, their season record will jump from 3-6 to 4-6.