By Amie Canfield
POUGHKEEPSIE – Powered by a near triple-double effort from senior guard Jack Rothenberg, the Vassar College men’s basketball team posted a 75-58 victory over Union College in Liberty League action on Tuesday at AFC Gymnasium. The victory moves the Brewers to 5-2 and 2-1 in league play, while the Dutchmen are now 0-8 and 0-3 in the Liberty League.
Rothenberg recorded 16 points (4-of-9 from three-point range) and 10 rebounds for the double-double, adding a career-high nine assists and a steal. Senior guard and captain Avni Mustafaj dropped in 12 points with four boards and five assists, while sophomore guard Luke Adams added 11 points with two boards and three assists. Additionally, junior forward Case Parsons dropped in a game-high four blocks with seven points and four rebounds.
For Union, senior guard Mike Manley posted a game-high 17 points, adding two rebounds, two assists and a game-high five steals. Rookie forward Aren Cummings added 11 points and six boards with an assist, while senior guard Mike Concannon had eight points and seven boards to go along with an assist and a steal. Senior guard Brian Noone paced the Dutchmen with eight boards, adding six points, an assist and a steal.
The Dutchmen opened the game’s scoring on a layup from Cummings, but the Brewers responded with an 8-0 run, aided by three-pointers from Rothenberg and senior guard Kevin McAuliffe. A jumper and a three pointer from Adams at the 11:14 mark pushed Vassar to a 13-4 lead and the home team continued to widen the margin as a layup from Rothenberg and a pair of inside shots from senior forward and captain Zach Johnson gave the Brewers a 15-point (19-4) advantage with 9:18 to play in the first half.
Union responded with an 11-0 run of their own, including five straight points from Cummings, to cut the visitors deficit to four (19-15) at the 4:36 mark, but the Brewers responded once more as treys from senior guard Ethan Ellis and Mustafaj moved the lead back into double-figures. The Dutchmen tacked on a pair of buckets late, but a layup from Johnson in the final 38 seconds saw Vassar head into half with the 29-19 lead.
Out of the intermission, the Brewers continued to press as Parsons dropped in a three-point play for a 32-19 lead early. Union eventually cut it to six (32-26) as Manley drained a three at 15:55, but solid perimeter shooting from McAuliffe, Rothenberg, Adams and senior guard Ben Freed, saw the Brewers continue to hold a double-figure advantage with a 47-32 lead at 10:51.
Free throw makes from junior forward Edward Baptiste helped narrow the gap to 10 (47-37), but the Brewers used solid defense and sharp shooting to keep the wide lead down the stretch. Back-to-back layups inside from junior forward Logan Scott gave Vassar it’s largest lead of the contest, 62-46, at 3:58 as Adams and Rothenberg each added three pointers once again with under 2:30 to go.
Vassar took advantage at the charity stripe over the final three minutes and saw senior center Michael Dixon drop in a three with 38 seconds to play to secure the final margin.
The Brewers are now idle for the holidays and return to action on December 29 when they take on Washington and Lee at 1pm in the Washington and Lee Holiday Classic.