POTSDAM – Five Brewers scored in double figures as the Vassar men’s basketball team bounced back with an 84-76 win over Clarkson on Saturday afternoon. The Brewers move to 13-5 with a 9-3 mark in the Liberty League, while the Golden Knights fall to 5-12 and 2-8 in the conference.
Vassar went up 7-4 early in the first half when junior Ethan Ellis scored off a pass from Jack Rothenberg. The Brewers held a slight lead until Blake Gearhart drained a three-pointer at 14:17 to put the Golden Knight up 9-7. First-year Alan Cedeno responded with a triple, but Clarkson answered right away with another trey from Jack Dalgety.
The threes kept falling for the Golden Knights, and another one from Chris Hulbert pushed the deficit to 12-20. A two-minute scoring drought from both sides followed, but once again, Clarkson was effective from long range and took a ten-point lead at 8:30. Senior Neville Lee collected an offensive board and laid it back to break the streak.
Junior Avni Mustafaj netted five-straight Vassar points to cut the lead to 22-30, and then Zach Johnson scored from a Logan Scott feed to keep the Brewers within striking distance. Johnson hit a pair of free throws right before the half to make it 33-34.
The Vassar offense exploded to score 51 points in the second half. Ellis got the Brewers moving out of the break, scoring a three-pointer at19:48 to retake the lead. Clarkson would tie the game two more times before a Kevin McAuliffe triple gave the Brewers a 42-39 lead that they held for the rest of the game. McAuliffe netted two consecutive threes to push the Vassar lead to seven.
Clarkson kept the game close, but the Brewers kept holding off runs. A jumper by Garrett Delaney made it a five-point game at 10:00, and then the Golden Knights netted threes from Ryan Miles-Ferguson and Joe Lucas to make it 68-64. The Brewers converted their free throws to hold on to the lead, and Mustafaj gave Vassar some breathing room when he sank a three-pointer at 1:58. Clarkson scored again, but Ellis made a layup with 31 seconds to prevent the last-minute comeback.
Johnson led the Brewers with 18 points and added 13 rebounds with four assists. McAuliffe drained four three-pointers to add 14 points, while Ellis scored 14. Rothenberg had a well-rounded game with 11 points, seven rebounds, and five assists. Mustafaj netted 10 points, seven rebounds, and five assists.
For Clarkson, Hulbert led with 23 points, while Gearhart added 19.
Vassar returns home on Fr. Feb. 4, to host bard at 7:30 p.m. in the AFC.