By Steven Merritt
POUGHKEEPSIE – The Vassar College Men’s Basketball team used a late second half surge to earn its first conference victory of the season in a 64-61 triumph over Skidmore on Wednesday evening at the Athletics and Fitness Center. First year Shea Fitzgerald tallied a team-high 17 points to push Vassar to 3-5 overall and 1-2 in the Liberty League while the Thoroughbreds drop to 2-6 overall and 0-3 in conference action.
Vassar took an early 14-8 lead in the opening seven minutes as junior Luke Adams knocked down a three-pointer along with four points from senior Case Parsons.
The lead grew to as many as eight on a layup from first year Kreekor Karageuzian before the Thoroughbreds rattled off 11 straight points and took a 19-16 lead on a triple from Joey Skoric.
Following a triple from senior Logan Scott that cut the lead down to one with 6:10 remaining, Skidmore extended its lead to 11 points on triples from Dillon McCafferty and Skoric with 3:12 to go.
Vassar closed the half on a 9-2 run to cut the halftime deficit to six points on a bucket from first year Avery Lee.
The Brewers closed the first half shooting 32.3-percent from the field and converted on four three-pointers while the Thoroughbreds shot 42.9-percent overall and knocked down 7-of-12 triples.
Skidmore’s lead ballooned to 13 points on a bucket from Jack LaGarde with 13:40 to go in the half as the Thoroughbreds kept the lead in double digits throughout the first 10 minutes of the half.
Vassar countered with a 9-2 run over the next four minutes as six points from Lee and a three-pointer from Adams cut the lead down to four with 6:46 remaining.
Two free throws from Adams brought Vassar all the way back to tie it at 58 apiece with 4:23 left in the contest.
The Thoroughbreds took the lead at 61-60 on a three-pointer from Alexei Downie with 1:24 to go before Adams’ bucket in the paint put the Brewers ahead with just over a minute to go.
Skidmore did not get a shot off in the final minute as two free throws from Fitzgerald sealed the first conference victory for Vassar.
Vassar concluded the second half shooting 41.4-percent overall and made two triples while Skidmore was held to 38.7-percent and converted on two three-pointers.
FOR THE BREWERS
Fitzgerald scored a team-high 17 points on 6-for-14 from the field while Adams added 12 points and nine rebounds.
Scott finished the night with seven points, four boards, three assists, three steals and two blocks in an all-around effort.
Lee added eight points and two steals off the bench and Karageuzian tallied four points, three assists and five rebounds.
FOR THE THOROUGHBREDS
Downie cashed in a game-high 21 points on 8-for-12 shooting along with six rebounds and three assists.
Skoric tallied nine points and seven boards while LaGarde recorded eight points, nine rebounds and two blocks.
Aidan Roy finished with six points, six boards and three assists while Padilla added seven points and five boards off the bench.