The Vassar Brewers Fall in Regular Season Finale

ITHACA – Despite a close first half, the Vassar men’s basketball team fell 59-72 to Ithaca in the final game of the regular season on Saturday afternoon. The Brewers now secure the third seed for the Liberty League Tournament after finishing 15-8 overall and 11-6 in the conference. Ithaca claimed the second seed and finished the season at 17-8 and 13-5 in the Liberty League.

The first half remained within single digits, with neither side holding more than an eight-point lead. After Zach Johnson sank a pair of free throws to put the score at 16-18, Ithaca went on an 8-2 run with four points coming from Skylar Sinon to take their largest lead of the half. A three-pointer from Zev Katz cut the lead to 21-26 at 4:30.

Johnson netted an inside layup off a Jack Rothenberg, and then a steal and fastbreak score by Avni Mustafaj made it a two-point game. The Bombers pushed their lead to five following a made free throw from Alex Barron, but Kevin McAuliffe sank a triple with 34 seconds left to make it 31-33 at the break.

Midway through the second half, McAuliffe drained another three-pointer to tie 50-50 at 11:14. Ithaca retook the lead after Luka Radovich scored inside, and then three points by Mustafaj gave the Brewers their first lead of the night at 53-52. Unfortunately, it was short-lived as Ithaca rattled off a 10-0 run until 4:35 to take a nine-point lead. Rothenberg scored off a Mustafaj pass to make it 57-63 at 2:44, but Sinon and Radovich answered to push the Bombers’ advantage to ten. With under a minute left, the Brewers had to foul. Ithaca capitalized to hold on for the win.

Mustafaj led the Brewers with 13 points, seven rebounds, and two steals, while Johnson added 13 points, five rebounds, three assists, and a block. McAuliffe hit three triples to finish with 11 points, while Rothenberg had eight points and nine rebounds.

George Sikoryak III and Radovich led the Bombers in the win, with each scoring 13 points. Sinon finished close behind with 11. Radovich also led Ithaca in rebounds with seven, while Sinon and Triston Wennersten grabbed five.

This season, Vassar’s 11 conference wins are the most in program history, and the Brewers look to continue their season on Tue. Feb. 22 when they host Hobart in the Liberty League First Round.

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