By Steven Merritt
ROCHESTER – The Vassar College Men’s Basketball team recorded its season-high in points on Saturday afternoon as the Brewers earned a 86-76 road conference victory over RIT. Vassar improves to 6-9 overall and 4-4 in Liberty League play while the Tigers drop to 7-6 overall and 3-3 in conference action.
The Tigers took an early 7-2 lead following a three-pointer from Brock Bowen and a conventional three-point play from Chase Dickens.
Vassar cut the lead to 13-9 on a layup from sophomore Nathan Denham before a Dickens jumper with 13:06 to go pushed the RIT lead to 19-11.
The Brewers reeled off a 13-2 run over the next three minutes as first years Shea Fitzgerald and Avery Lee put Vassar ahead 24-21 at the 9:46 mark.
Both teams traded buckets over the next six minutes as a triple from Denham regained the Vassar lead at 35-33 before a three-pointer from Dickens put RIT ahead by one with 3:35 to go.
Sophomore JP Miranda’s triple knotted the scoring up at 38 with 2:52 remaining in the half following five straight points from Denham to put Vassar ahead 43-38 at the 1:36 mark.
Lee canned two free throws just before the end of the half to take a 45-38 lead into the halftime break.
Vassar shot a blistering 52.9-percent overall, including 7-for-12 from three-point range, and were 2-for-2 from the free throw line.
RIT also shot an impressive 53.3-percent from the field, going 4-for-10 from three-point distance, and shot 2-for-3 from the free throw line.
The Tigers cut the lead down to two out of halftime as Bowen’s jumper at 18:06 before a hook shot from first year Sebastian Medina and a free throw from Fitzgerald put Vassar ahead 50-45.
Following Fitzgerald’s bucket at 16:31, RIT scored the next six points and took a 53-52 lead on a triple from Bowen with 13:58 left.
Junior Luke Adams canned a three-pointer at the 12:46 mark to regain a 57-54 advantage until Jackson Otis’ triple tied the game at 59 with 11:39 to go.
RIT took the lead on a Josiah Turner triple before Denham’s bucket cut the lead down to 64-63 with 10:09 to go.
The Tigers rattled off a 7-2 run over the next minute and a half as Turner’s layup pushed RIT ahead 71-65.
Vassar answered with a 12-4 run over the next five minutes to take a 77-73 lead on a lay-in from senior Logan Scott with 3:34 left.
RIT got within 77-76 with 3:12 remaining on a three-pointer from Matt Caggiano but the Brewers scored the final nine points of the contest to earn a hard-fought 86-76 road conference victory.
Vassar finished the half shooting 39.4-percent overall, going just 1-for-6 from three, while shooting 14-for-17 from the free throw line.
RIT shot 42.9-percent from the field, including 5-for-16 from three-point range, and converted 9-for-11 from the free throw line.
For The Brewers
Fitzgerald tallied a game-high 27 points on 8-for-15 from the field along with five assists, six rebounds and two steals.
Denham recorded a double-double off the bench, finishing with 19 points and 10 rebounds.
Miranda added 12 points and three assists while Lee registered nine points, two assists and three boards off the bench.
For The Tigers
Bowen recorded 19 points (6-for-14), two steals and two assists along with Dickens adding 18 points and five rebounds.
Turner tallied 12 points, five rebounds and two blocks and Caggiano recorded 11 points, five assists and four boards off the bench.
Otis tallied nine points and two blocks while Keegan Ocorr added four rebounds and two assists.