Vassar Men’s Hoops Powers Past Raptors, 72-64

By Amie Canfield

POUGHKEEPSIE – A slow start turned into a solid finish for the Vassar College men’s basketball team as they came-from-behind early for a 72-64 win over Bard College in Liberty League action on Saturday. The victory moves the Brewers to 11-6 overall and 7-3 in the league, while the Raptors are now 6-11 with a 3-7 mark in the Liberty League.

Bard opened the game strong and maintained a solid lead throughout the opening 10 minutes of the half, but a pair of three pointers from senior captain Avni Mustafaj and a trey from senior guard Kevin McAuliffe turned a 24-19 lead for the vistors into a 28-24 margin for the home team. The Brewers continued to roll as senior guard Zev Katz hit one from outside, while classmate and guard Jack Rothenberg dropped in a pair at the free throw line to make it a six-point (33-27) game at 4:34. A jumper from Greg Farrow helped close the gap, but another three from Rothenberg and a jumper at 1:48 from sophomore Luke Adams sent Vassar into halftime with a 38-29 advantage.

Out of the break, the Brewers saw their lead slip to three (42-39) as Azriel Almodovar banked in a layup at the 15:21 mark, but a 7-0 run, including five points from rookie Nathan Denham helped open a 10-point (49-39) lead with 13:33 to play. The Brewers stretched their lead to 17 as junior forward Case Parsons nailed a jumper and the home team continued to hold the double-figure advantage over the next two minutes – matching the Raptors bucket-for-bucket. Bard went on a 9-0 run with 3:51 to play, aided by four points from Almodovar and five from Elliot Harris, cutting the score to 64-56 with three minutes remaining. But the Brewers headed to the free throw line and capitalized as back-to-back makes from Rothenberg and Mustafaj opened it to 14 points (72-58) with 48 seconds to go. Bard would add a pair of three pointers in the final 36 seconds to close out the scoring.

Pacing the Vassar effort was Mustafaj as he recorded 15 points with four rebounds and an assist on the day – also going a perfect 3-for-3 from three-point range. Denham finished with a career-high 12 points and three boards with an assist, while Parsons added four points and six boards with a block. Katz posted nine points, while sophomore Alan Cedeno had four points and a game-high four assists.

Bard was led by Almodovar, who dropped in a game-high 17 points with eight rebounds and two assists. Tyler Bruns posted 15 points with four rebounds, while Harris had 13 points, going 3-for-4 from beyond the arc.

The Brewers return to action this Friday when they host St. Lawrence University at 7:30pm in the AFC Gym.

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