By Amie Canfield
POUGHKEEPSIE – Powered by a 45-point second half, the Vassar College men’s basketball team came-from-behind on Saturday for a 63-58 win over Clarkson University in Liberty League action at AFC Gymnasium. The victory moves the Brewers to 12-7 overall and 8-4 in league action, while the Golden Knights are now 6-12 and 3-8 in the Liberty League.
Vassar, which trailed by a 33-18 margin after the opening half, found their spark as a 29-14 scoring run through the 8:21 mark turned a once double-figure deficit into a tie game at 47-all. A three-pointer from senior guard Kevin McAuliffe, followed quickly by a pair of free throw makes from senior guard Jack Rothenberg at the 16:15 mark helped close Vassar’s deficit to single-digits (37-30), but Clarkson answered as Blake Gearhart dropped in a layup, while a three from Ryan Miles-Ferguson pushed the lead back to 12 (42-30) at 15:13. Senior guard Ethan Ellis buried five free throws, while sophomore guard Luke Adams dropped in a key three, along with a jumper to make it a two-point (47-45) game with 9:45 on the clock.
Senior captain Avni Mustafaj hit the game-tying layup (47-47) at 8:21 and the Brewers took the lead as rookie Nathan Denham and Mustafaj nailed back-to-back buckets for the 51-48 lead at 6:37. A clutch pair of free throws from Rothenberg were soon followed by a deep three from the senior as the lead pushed to six (56-50) for the home team with 3:49 left to play. Gearhart hit a pair of free throws, but the Brewers countered with Adams draining another three at the 2:37 mark to push it to 60-52. Gearhart once again powered his way to the basket, adding a free throw to complete the three-point play, while a free throw from Matteo Sinon saw the Vassar lead drop to two (60-58) in the final minute.
The Brewers regained possession and held strong as Mustafaj went 1-for-2 at the line, while Rothenberg hit both of his to finish a perfect 7-for-7 at the free throw line and conclude the game’s scoring for the win.
Adams was the Brewers top scorer, dropping in 17 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the floor, including 5-of-7 from three-point range. He aslo had five boards, two assists and a steal. Rothenberg added 12 points and 10 boards to complete the double-double, posting two assists and a block, while Ellis had 11 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the line with a steal. Mustafaj had 10 points with three boards and two assists, while junior forward Logan Scott finished with a game-high 12 rebounds and three assists with three points.
The Brewers return to the court on Friday, traveling to Bard for a 7:30pm Liberty League tilt against the Raptors.