POTSDAM - The SUNY Potsdam mens and womens basketball teams but suffered tough road losses to North Country rivals on Tuesday.
At Clarkson Universitys Alumni gym, the host Lady Knights never trailed but nevertheless needed a 3-pointer and free throw from freshman Stephanie Grobe (White River Junction, VT) in the final minute to gain a 59-55 decision over their Raquette River rivals at Alumni Gymnasium.
The Golden Knights improved to 4-2 overall with their second straight victory, while Potsdam fell to 2-2 on the season. Clarkson will finish out the first half of the season with games at Elmira this Saturday and SUNY Canton (Saturday, December 14th).
Clarkson jumped out to a five-point lead in the early going only to see the advantage diminish. However, a theme would start in the contest from that point as sophomore Isabella Esposito (Essex, VT) nailed a 3-pointer on the next possession to regain the lead for Clarkson. A similar situation would come a few moments later as Clarksons lead fell to a basket, but another 3-pointer from Esposito sparked a 12-4 run that pushed the Knights to a 10-point lead (26-16). Just as Potsdam began to make a run, Jovanna Snead (Poughkeepsie, NY) buried a 3-pointer from the corner and again the Knights held off the Bears, heading into the locker room with a 12-point lead, 32-20.
Clarkson led in the majority of categories at the break, outrebounding the Bears (20-13) and making five 3-pointers to Potsdams one.
The Bears would step up their defensive intensity in the second half and slowly cut into Clarksons lead. Down by just a basket (50-48) late in the half, a 3-pointer from the top of the key by Cara Manfredi (Glastonbury, CT) helped the Knights back to a five-point lead, but Potsdam simply would not go away, tying the game at 55-55 with two-plus minutes remaining. That would be all the Bears could muster offensively, but Clarkson wasnt getting the shots to fall either until freshman Stephanie Grobe buried a 3-pointer close to the Knights bench with 37 seconds to go to give the Knights a 58-55 lead. Potsdams attempts to tie the contest came up short, and Grobe hit a free throw with 11 seconds remaining to make the contest a two-possession game.
Manfredi started slow, but finished with 14 points, four rebounds, and four assists to lead the Knights. Esposito chipped in 10 points and Brooke Butkovsky (Monroe, CT) had seven points and nine rebounds. Ashley Loggins (Albany, NY) tossed in nine points and contributed three steals as well.
For Potsdam, Jessica Kouzan and Chenice Russell each scored 12 points. Kouzan made four steals, while Russell added a team-high seven boards. Bailey Weigel also produced eight points, five assists and a pair of blocks for the Bears.
St. Lawrence University junior captain Brady Condlin recorded a double-double with a game-high 18 points and 11 rebounds, helping the Saints mens to a 69-67 non-conference victory over the Bears at the Burkman Gymnasium.
The win snapped a three-game losing skid for St. Lawrence, which is now 2-4 on the season. Meanwhile, SUNY Potsdam falls to 1-4 despite a 15-point outing from Zac Adams.
Three players scored in double figures for each team, including Condlin, Kyle Kobis (15) and Kyle Edwards for St. Lawrence. Adams, Josh Blagrove (13) and Rob Duquette for the Bears.
Potsdam came out struggling from the floor in the first half, which allowed St. Lawrence to capitalize and build a seemingly-comfortable 13-point lead, 23-10 after a jumper by Al Jones with 7:14 to play in the opening period. The Bears would chip away at the lead thanks to buckets by Tom Graf and Duquette, and would grab the lead at 26-25 thanks to a three from Joe Estramonte with 1:44 left in the half.
David Hampton would answer for the Scarlet and Brown, burying a three in the final minute to tie the score at 28-28 and set up a dramatic second half.
St. Lawrence would again grab the early advantage in the second half, opening up a six point lead, 40-34, after Condlin made a lay-up and was fouled by Blagrove for a three-point play. The Saints would not give up the lead throughout the period, keeping the cushion at five with five minutes left after a pair of free throws by Kieran Miller.
Potsdam would answer with a lay-in by Blagrove to cut the deficit to three, and Estramonte tied it on the next possession on a three pointer, 56-56. However, Kobis would give the lead right back to the Saints with a three of his own for a 59-56 lead.
The two teams exchanged baskets throughout the final minutes, with Potsdam pulling to within a basket at 64-62 on a lay-in from Duquette thanks to a great feed into the pain by Adams with 1:23 to play. Kobis would deliver a blow on the Saints possession, though, burying a three in front of his bench for a five point cushion, 67-62.
With the lead at four, 68-64, Estramonte knocked down a three from six feet behind the arc to keep the Bears hopes alive trailing by one with :21 seconds left. The visitors had to foul, and they sent Condlin to the line with :14 seconds left and a chance to go up by three. However, his second free throw rattled out, and Duquette earned the rebound for Potsdam. Trailing 69-67, Estramonte had a look for the game-winning three with :02 seconds left, but it hit the rim and sailed out of bounds, giving St. Lawrence the narrow two-point victory.
St. Lawrence was able to win despite shooting only 37% from the floor and only 59% (17-29) from the free throw line. The Saints were 8-19 from three, while the Bears were much stronger at the charity stripe (19-22) but not behind the arc (4-14). Potsdams bench outscored St. Lawrences 17-10, while the Saints closed with a 40-37 advantage on the glass.
The Bears return to the court this weekend when they make their SUNYAC debut on the road Friday night against SUNY Cortland before heading to SUNY Oswego on Saturday. The Saints will be in action again on Saturdaywhen they travel to Ithaca College to take on the Bombers at 4p.m.