Patrick Mahoney scored 22 points and sophomore Dom Black registered 20 to lead the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) men’s basketball team to its 16th straight win – and school-record 11th in the Liberty League – 78-65 over Skidmore College on Friday night. The first place Engineers are 11-0 in the conference and 16-2 overall, while the Thoroughbreds fall to 5-6 and 6-12.
RPI, which entered the game with the fourth-longest winning streak in the nation, fell behind 5-1 and 7-3, but baskets by Black and Mahoney tied the game at 7-7 and the Engineers led the rest of the way. Black’s basket was the start of runs of 14-0 and 19-3 that put the visitors in front by double digits midway through the half.
A Greg Skoric basket with just under four minutes left in the first pulled Skidmore to under 10 points (28-19) for the first time since the 10:39 mark. It was part of an 8-0 stretch for the Thoroughbreds, but a layup by Black halted it for a 30-23 RPI lead with 2:32 to go. Pat Gallagher scored on the other end, but Black closed the half with another basket with one second remaining for a 32-25 edge at the break.
Black had nine first half points, while Mahoney scored eight for the Engineers, who shot 44.8 percent in the first 30 minutes. They followed with a second half that saw them make 64 percent of their shots. Skidmore, which got 11 points from Ty Lamport before halftime, made 32.3 percent of its first half shots and 51.7 percent in the second.
The teams went back-and-forth to open the second half before Mahoney scored five straight points for a 42-31 lead four minutes in. Thoroughbreds guard Riley Greene scored seven of the next nine points to make it a 44-38 game and Skoric got it down to 46-42 with four consecutive points, but Rensselaer continued to have answers.
Freshman Will Rubin scored from behind the arc and Mitchel Wayand hit a pair of free throws for a 56-46 lead with 8:46 to play, Mason Memmelaar’s two free throws put the score at 58-47 two minutes later and Black scored on a layup for a 15-point lead (62-47) with 5:38 to go. The margin got to 18 points on three separate occasions before settling at 13 when the horn sounded.
Mahoney hit 8 of 14 shots, while Black made 9 of 13. Rubin connected on 4 of 6 for 11 points. Mahoney added four rebounds and two assists and Black had five boards and three assists.
Lamport paced Skidmore with 22 points, Skoric had 17 with 12 rebounds and Greene tallied 12.
Rensselaer is back on the road on Saturday afternoon when it plays at third place Union College at 4pm. The Thoroughbreds host Ithaca College on Saturday at 4pm. Both games are Liberty League contests.