Free throws do in Knights against Rensselaer
Friday, February 4, 2011 - 11:04 pm

Potsdam, NY – Sinking seven of eight free throws, including several clutch shots in the final minute, Rensselaer held off the Clarkson University Men’s Basketball team 73-65 in Liberty League action Friday night at Alumni Gymnasium.

The Golden Knights fell to 10-9 overall and 2-6 in the Liberty League, making the next stretch of games very important for Clarkson if the team wishes to reach the postseason. Rensselaer improved its chance by moving to 11-7 overall and 5-3. Clarkson faces Vassar tomorrow afternoon, while the Engineers travel to play St. Lawrence.

Rensselaer slowly extended its modest lead following a timeout by the Knights, finishing the half on a 15-8 run that made things difficult on Clarkson at both ends. The Engineers were able to move the ball seamlessly through Clarkson’s defense for some good looks at the basket, while the Knights were content at swinging the ball around the perimeter in hopes of an open 3-pointer. The keys to the first half for Rensselaer were the differential in turnovers (9 for Clarkson, just 4 for the Engineers) and the shooting percentages (Rensselaer shot 14-for-32, while the Knights were held to 10-for-28).

The second half was a continual game of tug of war with the margin, as every time Clarkson cut the lead to five points, Rensselaer would quickly respond with a transition basket to end any momentum shift. After a 3-point play from Rey Jefferson (Budd Lake, NJ) and a pair of free throws from Nate Uline (Gansevoort, NY) a few minutes later, Clarkson was back to within three points, 67-64. However, the Engineers converted a loose ball lay up to return the lead to five points with just 32 seconds left, and the deficit proved too much to overcome.

Rensselaer's free throw shooting proved to be the difference, as the Engineers shot 13-for-14 from the line, while Clarkson made only 11 of its 21 attempts.

Jefferson led all scorers with 16 points, while Felix Llanos (Queens, NY) added in 14 points. Senior Jonathan Hood (Cortlandt Manor, NY) added 11 points and seven rebounds, while Uline tossed in eight points with nine rebounds. For Rensselaer, three reserves reached double figures, led by Jeremy Bull and Mike Brion with 11 points each. Joe Gibbons, who made the lay up that proved to ice the game, finished with 10 points.