TROY, N.Y. - Senior Ricky Philatre (Randolph, MA/Randolph) recorded a team-high 20 points and eight rebounds to lead the Rensselaer men's basketball team to a 72-66 victory over MCLA, in the Championship Game of the Tri-State Shootout, at East Campus Arena. With the win, the Engineers improve to 6-1 overall, while the Trailblazers fall to 4-3.
Named the Tournament MVP, Philatre went 8 for 12 from the floor and also turned in a blocked shot and a steal. Joining him on the All-Tournament Team was classmate Tim Rupp (Staten Island, NY/Curtis), who netted 17 points to along with three rebounds and an assist, while shooting 6 of 13 from the field.
The Engineers came out strong early, outscoring MCLA 19-9 over the first nine minutes of the game. The Trailblazers then - thanks to five straight points from junior guard Chris Harris (Dorchester, MA/John D. O'Bryant) - cut a 10-point deficit (22-12) down to five (22-17) with 8:23 remaining in the opening half.
Rensselaer freshman Daniel Martin (Cohasset, MA/Cohasset) then scored six of the next eight points to push the host's advantage back to 28-19. A Rupp jumper with 4:14 left in the first, put the Engineers on top by 11 (30-19).
Trailblazers junior E'lon Julien (Bronx, NY/Quinsigamond CC) hit a lay-in at the buzzer to bring the visitors to within 35-26 at the half. Both teams shot 36% from the field in the first 20 minutes of play, with the Engineers taking a 13-7 edge in made free throws.
RPI's lead hovered around eight for the first five minutes of the second half, but another five-point run from MCLA - this time by junior Jon Greenberg (Antwerp, Belgium/Dennis-Yarmouth) trimmed the Engineers' advantage to 42-37 with 14:15 remaining.
Greenberg continued his hot shooting, netting consecutive buckets with just over 12 minutes to go to draw within a point (46-45). Philatre answered, with a score of his own, and junior Ike Rodriquez (San Antonio, TX/McCollum) and Jeremy Bull (Woodbridge, VA/St. Stephens & St. Agnes School) extended the RPI lead back to seven (52-45) with 8:35 left.
Senior Jeremy Colon (Manchester, NH/West) nailed a jumper in the lane to put the Engineers back on top by 11 (62-53) with 4:44 to go.
MCLA battled back in the final two minutes, cutting a 65-56 deficit to just two (66-64) with 37 just seconds remaining. MCLA had a chance to tie or take the lead when Rodriguez missed both free throws on a two shot foul, but MCLA was unable to corral the rebound and the ball came back to Rodriguez who was fouled again. This time free throws from Rodriguez, Rupp and Bull would seal the win for the Engineers.
Greenberg and the Trailblazers battled foul trouble all day long and were whistled for 27 personal fouls and RPI outscored the Trailblazers 23-14 from the line. Greenberg led MCLA with 22 points and five rebounds. Harris netted 16 points and picked up four boards, while Julien had 8 points on 4-6 shooting.
The Engineers are back in action on December 30, when they host Middlebury College at East Campus Arena (7pm). MCLA hosts Keene State on Tuesday (7pm).
Greenberg and senior Pat Ryan (Woodstock, NY) were named too the All-Tournament Team as well. MCLA will host the Tri-State Shootout next seaon