Finishing the season strong

With the season coming to a close, men’s basketball concluded their season on a high note with a 71-63 win over Vassar College on February 21. The team closed out the weekend with two wins: one in overtime against Bard College and one in their final season game at home against Vassar.

On Friday, RPI traveled to Bard College to face the struggling Raptors at home. On their Senior Night and final game of the season, the Raptors put up their strongest defense all season holding RPI to a halftime score of 20-23. Rensselaer found the rim more than the net, making only eight out of 33 shots from the field.

The third quarter saw the Engineers continue to struggle offensively and widen the score margin from three to 10 points. RPI found their strength to rally from an 11-point deficit late in the fourth quarter behind freshman Tom Horvat who led the team with 18 points. Junior Jonathan Luster’s on-the-buzzer three missed the mark and took the game into overtime at 49-49.

The Engineers capitalized on Bard’s loss of momentum in the overtime period where their defense did not fare as well as it had in the first half. RPI closed the game out 58-53 to win it with senior Tyler Gendron scoring seven of RPI’s nine overtime points.

After the win on Friday, Rensselaer returned home to finish their season with a hard fought win over Vassar College. At the close of the first half, the two teams were neck and neck with Vassar edging out RPI for a 35-34 lead. Despite an RPI 10-point lead in the second quarter, Vassar rallied and squeezed by Rensselaer to outscore them in the first half.

However, the Engineers surged in the second half, outscoring the Brewers 37-28 and putting up a 60 percent accuracy from downtown with six three-pointers. Gendron added to his first half total of 10 points to give RPI the win, leading the team in scoring with 21 points. Gendron concluded his college career with a well-earned win and even put up three steals to help Rensselaer to victory. Another standout on the RPI side was Luster, who had two blocks and four assists.

RPI finished the season with two wins back to back to finish 12-13 overall and 6-10 in conference. The season brought a new star to the team in Horvat, who was recently recognized as the Liberty League Men’s Basketball Rookie of the Week for the third time this season. The guard played an important part in the Engineers’ wins this weekend and is someone to keep an eye on in future seasons.