Saints Fall to Vassar, 76-65
Feb. 20: The St. Lawrence University men's basketball team suffered only their second Liberty League loss of the season Friday evening as Vassar College upended the Saints, 76-65, in Burkman Gymnasium in Canton, NY.
The Brewers improve to a 10-14 overall record and a 5-8 League record, while the Saints endure their fifth loss of the season and fall to 18-5 and 11-2 in conference action.
The Saints are now tied for first place in conference standings with Hamilton College. Tomorrow's games will determine who will win the regular season title and host the tournament next weekend.
Senior captain Rich Williams (Kingston, NY/Kingston) recorded his third double-double of the season, recording 11 points and grabbing 10 balls off the glass, while classmate and cohort Bela Vonnak (Canajoharie, NY/Canajoharie) scored a team-high 12 points. Junior Josh Sharlow (Norwood, NY/Norwood-Norfolk) also reached double digits, chipping in 11 points.
Vassar shot a blistering 63.6 percent from behind the arc in the first, banking 7-of-11 shots, to secure a slight advantage over the Saints at the end of the period. St. Lawrence's biggest lead of the game came early on in the contest, as they quickly jumped out to a 13-4 advantage with 15:34 to play in the first. But Vassar responded with a jumper and back-to-back threes to come within one of the home squad. Five lead changes and two ties later, Vassar earned its largest lead of the opening stanza with 2:44 to play off a three to earn a 28-22 edge, but four straight layups from the Saints gave them a two point lead with less than a minute to go, but another clutch three for Vassar followed by a jumper handed the lead back to the visiting team with the scoreboard reading 33-30 heading into the break.
The home squad never saw another lead despite getting close on several occasions in the last half of the contest. A three-point play by Brewer Matt Nunn sparked an impressive 18-4 Vassar run that left St. Lawrence behind 51-36 with 13:06 to play in regulation. Within minutes, St. Lawrence had turned things right back around in their favor, as they only allowed the Brewers to score five points in the ensuing five and half minutes while scoring 19 of their own to close what was once a 15-point margin and make it a one-point game with a score of 56-55 with 7:44 left remaining.
That was the closest the Saints would get at Vassar continued to shoot well from all over the floor throughout the remainder of the game. The Brewers outscored the Saints 20-10 in the final minutes to earn the 76-65 victory, a critical win that keeps their postseason hopes alive.
Vassar's Brian Butterworth reached the 1,000 point milestone off a three-pointer in midst of the second half, while teammate Joe Davis led the offense with 20 points. Matt Nunn added 16 points, while Caleb McGraw and Lenny Holt each tallied 12 and 11 points, respectively.
Vassar was 50.9 percent from the floor, including 57.1 percent from three-point range, while the Saints were contained to only 35.8 percent from the field.
St. Lawrence will host Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on Saturday, February 21st, in the final regular season game. Game time is scheduled for 4:00pm in Burkman Gym.