Multi-man effort from Engineers seal deal in two-game home-stand
The Engineers looked to get back on track at home against Skidmore and Vassar after losing three out of their last four games on the road. They did just that with two consecutive victories, dismantling Skidmore 74-61 and Vassar 78-60, subsequently rising up the Liberty League standings to second place with a 9-5 league record.
In both games, Rensselaer had multiple players with double-digit points, shot a combined 45.3 percent from beyond the arc, forced multiple turnovers, and were unwavering in their resolve to win. In RPI’s victory against Skidmore, the Thoroughbreds clearly outsized the Engineers, and it showed. The bigger players on Skidmore would out rebound and shoot above the players from Rensselaer up close. However, the Engineers countered Skidmore’s size with grit and canceled out their disadvantage in the paint with a barrage of threes in the first half to effectively put the game away at halftime.
RPI’s defense, number one in the Liberty League, played an essential part in the two victories. While Skidmore came out of halftime with more intensity on defense, restricting the Engineers capabilities on the offensive end, RPI’s defense stayed stalwart, coming alive just in time to stem Skidmore’s momentum to hold onto the lead and the game.
The defense was just as good against Vassar, if not better, forcing Vassar to turn the ball over 17 times. In fact, RPI’s turnover differential across the two games was +17—an average of +8.5 per game. Vassar still managed to shoot the ball extremely well in their first half against RPI, going 11 of 19 from the field, but the well ran dry in the second half as their shooting luck ran out. RPI pounced on their opposition’s bad shooting and outscored Vassar by 16 points in the second to claim its second consecutive victory in the home stand.
RPI’s performance around the three-point line deserves applause as well. Stroking 24 threes from beyond the arc in the two games, different Engineers shined from three as Chuck Clemons drained four threes and Avery Eugster drained three from beyond against Skidmore. Against Vassar, Brian Kelly led the way with four threes, hopefully, a positive omen as the sharpshooter had only shot 26.7 percent from three coming into the two games.
Along with the balanced shooting, the Engineers also had balanced scoring as five different Engineers scored in double digits against Skidmore and four different Engineers scored in double digits against Vassar. Jonny Angbazo had a team-high 15 points in the win against Skidmore. Against Vassar, Dom Black had a team-high 18 points.
Before the game against Skidmore took place, Dom Black was recognized and congratulated as the 17th player in RPI Men’s basketball history to score 1,000 career points. On Saturday, against Vassar, it was White Out for Morgan’s Message. Morgan’s Message is an organization that seeks to help and improve the mental well-being of student-athletes all across the nation. Click this link to read about the goal of the Rensselaer chapter of Morgan’s Message and click here to go to Morgan’s Message’s official website.
With a 9-5 league record and second place in hand, their next two games are against St. Lawrence on Friday, February 10, at 7:30 pm and against Clarkson on Saturday, February 11, at 4 pm. For the game against Skidmore: Click here for the box score and here for the RPI TV broadcast. For the game against Vassar: Click here for the box score and here for the RPI TV broadcast.