Men's basketball

Engineers sink in subpar semifinal, stay afloat in NCAA tournament

A poor performance from the Engineers resulted in a 70‒53 defeat in their semifinal against the Skidmore Thoroughbreds. The loss is Rensselaer’s second at the hands of Skidmore, bringing their season record to 21‒5. Despite the loss, the Engineers obtained an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament and will play Nichols College in the first round.

The Engineers were continuously stymied on offense. A significant portion of points this season have come in the paint, but the Thoroughbreds' towering frontcourt terrorized RPI at the hoop. Skidmore’s post defense shut down the Engineers with clean contact at the rim, ultimately recording a total of five blocks. With the Engineers shooting 30 percent from the field in the first half, Skidmore locked in their grasp of the game.

RPI came out of the locker room motivated, and it showed in their performance; the Engineers’ field goal percentage was 46.15 in the second half. Skidmore also improved their shooting in the second half, increasing their accuracy from 44.83 to 51.72 percent. The Engineers failed to make enough shots from beyond the arc, making two out of 13 attempts in the entire game. With Skidmore’s Tautvydas Kupstas racking up points, the deficit from the first half was insurmountable.

The top point scorer for the Engineers this season, Mason Memmelaar ’22, did all that he could to bring them back, shooting 62.5 percent from the field and amassing 22 points. Click here for the RPI TV broadcast and here for the box score.

Despite not directly qualifying for the NCAA tournament by winning the Liberty League Tournament, the Engineers were given an at-large bid due to their 21‒5 record. RPI will play their first-round game against Nichols College, currently 25‒3, at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut on Friday night.