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Skidmore men’s basketball downs RPI, 82-61

TROY, N.Y. – Skidmore College shot 76 percent from the floor in the first half, including 64.3 percent from three-point range, to take a 51-27 lead at halftime and the Thoroughbreds went on to defeat Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), 82-61, in a Liberty League contest at East Campus Arena. Skidmore improves to 12-5 overall and 7-1 in the conference, while the Engineers fall to 10-7 and 4-4.

The Thoroughbreds scored eight of the first 10 points and 20 of the first 27 – 15 on five made three-pointers – to take an early lead they would not relinquish. Sophomore Edvinas Rupkus (Naujoji Akmene, Lithuania / Westtown) had eight points in that stretch and finished with 15 first half points on 6 of 7 shooting.

A three-pointer from RPI’s Andreas Kontopidis (Sherborn, MA / Dover-Sherborn) made it 20-10, but Aldin Medunjanin (New York, NY / Millbrook School) scored five straight points and Pat Gallagher (Croton-On-Hudson, NY / Williston Academy) added two free throws for a 27-10 lead at the 11:31 mark. The Thoroughbreds used an 11-1 run five minutes later for a 41-14 lead.

Skidmore missed just one shot from inside the three-point arc in the first 20 minutes and went 4 of 5 from the free throw line. The Thoroughbreds had eight assists on 19 made shots and caused eight turnovers. RPI was 10 of 20 from the field in the first half with four three-pointers, and 3 of 6 from the foul line. The Engineers had six assists.

Skidmore continued its torrid shooting to start the second half, scoring the first nine points of the frame for a 60-27 lead. Sophomore guard Chase Ta (Princeton, NJ / Montgomery) had a pair of layups and three others made baskets in the first 2:14.

RPI then put together a 12-3 stretch, including two three-point baskets from Tom Horvat (Cranston, RI / Marianapolis Prep.), but the Thoroughbreds scored 11 of the next 16 points and led 74-44 with 8:46 remaining. Rensselaer outscored Skidmore 15-6 in the final 6:57.

Medunjanin led all scorers with 19 points (8 of 11) with four rebounds and four assists, while Rupkus had 18 points and four rebounds. Jack Byrne (Hazlet, NJ / Shore Regional) added 13 points, Ta had 11 and Gallagher scored 10 for the Thoroughbreds, who shot 65.2 percent (30 of 46) with 13 three-pointers (13 of 22).

Senior Jonathan Luster (Essex, CT / Valley Regional) had 16 points on 7 of 9 shooting with four rebounds. Kontopidis had 12 points and Horvat tallied 10.

Rensselaer returns to the court on Saturday afternoon at 4pm when it welcomes Union College to Troy. Skidmore hosts Bard College at the same time. Both games are league contests.

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