Brewers Start Slow, Finish Strong Against Knights

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NEWBURGH – The Vassar men’s basketball team earned its third-straight victory of the season at the Hudson Valley Tournament on Saturday evening. The Brewers (3-2) downed Mount Saint Mary (0-4) in non-conference play, 72-64.

The Knights jumped out to an 8-0 run before sophomore Logan Scott broke the streak with an inside layup at 17:06. Right after, though, Mount Saint Mary’s Connor Cryan scored four unanswered, and then Ryan Grahman made an inside layup to push the lead to 14-4.

Junior Zach Johnson converted two layups to cut the lead to eight to keep it a single-digit game. Johnson then fed the ball to junior Kevin McAuliffe for the left corner triple that cut it to 16-9.

The Knights responded with a Cryan three-pointer at 9:37, but junior Ethan Ellis struck right back 12 seconds later with a three of his own to make it 19-12. At 7:29, McAuliffe drove inside along the baseline and dished the ball outside to senior Neville Lee for the open three to make it a one-possession game.

Four straight Mount Saint Mary points kept Vassar at bay, but the Brewers kept chipping away at the lead when first-year Alan Cedeno passed inside to Jack Rothenberg for an easy layup that cut the Knights’ lead to 23-21. Vassar struggled to remain consistent with another 7-0 Mount Saint Mary’s run capped off with a Ryan Grahman triple, making it 30-21 at 2:15. Vassar’s Rayan El Amine (Beirut, tacked two more points before the half, but Knights’ held a 31-23 lead.

At the start of the second, Rothenberg scored six points within the first four minutes, and then McAuliffe drained a triple to tie the game 33-33 at the 15:51 mark. The teams traded a couple of baskets until Rothenberg hit a pair of free throws to give the Brewers their first lead of the night at 36-35. The Knights bounced back with a layup to retake the lead, but the Brewers went on a 10-0 span to go up 46-37 with 10:37 remaining.

Vassar continued to find its rhythm when Ellis found McAuliffe again in the corner for an open three-pointer at 9:43, but the Knights’ were staying alive when they responded with their own three. Soon after, Rothenberg connected for a trey to give Vassar a 52-44 advantage and force a Mount Saint Mary timeout. A hot-shooting McAuliffe kept raining three and added two more to put the Brewers up 60-46 with six minutes remaining. After that, the teams went back-and-forth with triples until the Knights’ Cyran cut the lead to 11 points.

A layup by Paul Sienke lessened the lead to nine, but a final layup from Devyn Benson sealed the game 72-64.

Rothenberg and McAuliffe led the Brewers with 18 points each, while McAuliffe connected for 6-of-7 three-pointers. Johnson added 12 points with a career-high 18 rebounds and five assists. Johnson’s rebound total also tied for second-most in program history in a single game.

For the Knights, Chris Yearwood led the team with 23 points, while Jayden Figueroa grabbed a team-high ten rebounds.

Vassar has a short break before opening Liberty League play at the AFC on Fri. Dec. 3 against Ithaca at 7:30 p.m.

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