Sharlow Paces Saints in Crucial Road Win Against Continentals
Feb. 14: The St. Lawrence University men's basketball team held off a Hamilton College comeback in the second half on Saturday afternoon to earn their eighth straight victory against their Liberty League rival, defeating the Continentals by a 75-62 margin in Scott Field House in Clinton, NY. It is the first time since the 2001-2002 season that St. Lawrence has defeated the Continentals on their home court in Scott Field House during the conference regular season. The Saints defeated Hamilton on their home turf in 2007 to win the Liberty League Tournament title.
The Saints improve to 18-4 overall and a 11-1 mark against conference opponents, while Hamilton falls to 15-6 and 9-2 in Liberty League action, with both conference losses coming at the hands of the Scarlet and Brown.
Following the win, St. Lawrence is one victory away from the conference regular season title and hosting the Liberty League Tournament in two weeks. St. Lawrence can clinch both with a victory over Rensselaer or Vassar next weekend.
Junior Josh Sharlow (Norwood, NY/Norwood-Norfolk) had one of his best scoring games of the season, shooting 66.7-percent from the floor, including 3-of-4 three-pointers, and a perfect 10-for-10 from the line to record a season-high 25 points to guide the Saints to the win. Senior captains Tom Wopperer (Manlius, NY/Fayetteville-Manlius) and Bela Vonnak (Canajoharie, NY/Canajoharie) added 16 and 11 points, respectively. Sophomore Ben Araya (Westborough, MA/Westborough) and first-year student Garrett Sharlow (Massena, NY/Massena Central) shared the honors of collecting game-high seven boards with three Hamilton players as well.
Hamilton controlled the contest early on, using their home court and fans to their advantage as they earned as much as a six point lead, 12-6, with 15:56 to play in the first. St. Lawrence responded with eight straight points to earn their first lead of the game, a lead they never let go of in the period despite the attempts of Hamilton. The squads saw a couple of ties before the Saints found themselves up by five following a three from Josh Sharlow as the scoreboard read 21-16 in favor of the Scarlet and Brown with 11:06 to go in the frame.
The Continentals got within one point of the Saints on a few occasions before the visitors soared out to an eight-point advantage, 31-23, with just over four minutes to play. But a 6-2 Hamilton run down the stretch brought the hosts back within two points as the teams entered the locker room at the half with St. Lawrence leading, 33-31.
Wopperer and Josh Sharlow accounted for 26 of St. Lawrence's 42 points in the final 20 minutes of action. Vonnak made two shots off the glass to open the second half, but Hamilton erased the visiting team's lead with an 11-3 run, sparked by a three-point play by Continental Patrick Sullivan, to earn a 42-40 edge with 14:52 to go in regulation. Hamilton's lead was short-lived, as Garrett Sharlow and Wopperer made back-to-back shots to regain an advantage the Saints never surrendered. Hamilton kept the game within reach until Josh Sharlow ignited an 11-2 run towards the end of the half that guaranteed the win for St. Lawrence.
Hamilton struggled from three-point land, making only 2-of-20 shots from beyond the perimeter. St. Lawrence held an advantage in field goal percentage and free throws and out-rebounded their opponents 45-33. Leading the Continentals was Sullivan, who netted 20 points, while teammate Jay Simpson recorded 16 points for the team.
St. Lawrence will host Vassar and Rensselaer next weekend in the final weekend of the regular season. The Saints and Brewers are scheduled to begin at 8:00pm on Friday in Burkman Gym.