Strong Second Half Lifts Brewers Past Saints

POUGHKEEPSIE – The Vassar men’s basketball team wrapped up the weekend sweep with a 68-63 victory over St. Lawrence on Saturday afternoon at the AFC. Despite trailing by nine at halftime, the Brewers outscored the Saints 47-33 in the second half to win their ninth straight game and move to 9-2 overall and 5-0 in the Liberty League. St. Lawrence slips to 8-3 and 3-2 in the conference.

Vassar struggled early on, with St. Lawrence shutting out the Brewers in the first five minutes to take an 11-0 following a Luke Hicks’ three-pointer. First-year Luke Adams finally got the Brewers on the board when he was fouled on a three-point shot that went in. He converted the free throw for the four-point play to make it 11-4.

The Brewers slowly kept cutting away at the lead after that, and a Kevin McAuliffe inside jumper put the Brewers down just 13-15 at 8:23. St. Lawrence responded with a triple by Aiden Macaulay, and then the teams traded baskets until a 5-0 Vassar run made it a one-point game. The Saints closed out the half strong, using a 6-0 span, including a dunk by Trent Adamson to lead 30-21 at the break.

St. Lawrence took an early 13-point lead in the second-half following a layup from Adamson. After difficulty shooting in the first half, junior Jack Rothenberg scored the following five Vassar points to make it 28-36 at 17:19. The Saints built their lead again, but a triple from McAuliffe and one from Rothenberg cut the St. Lawrence advantage to six. It was not until 8:46 when Vassar tied the game 50-50 following a layup by Ethan Ellis.

After two more ties, Vassar took the lead for the first time in the afternoon. A 6-0 Vassar run put the Brewers ahead 60-54 as the game remained within single digits. With under a minute to play, Macaulay split a pair of free throws to make it 64-63, but Avni Mustafaj hit four-straight free throws in the final 23 seconds to earn the win.

Rothenberg led the Brewers with 21 points and had six rebounds with two assists. Junior Zach Johnson earned his ninth double-double behind 19 points and 11 boards. Mustafaj grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds and also dished out four assists.

For the Saints, Adamson had a team-high 17 points and nine rebounds, while Will Engelhardt scored 15 with seven rebounds.

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