Posted by Matt Choi
It was a feel-good night of Skidmore basketball and new tricks on Tuesday as both the men's and women's teams were victorious against the visiting Clarkson Golden Knights.
Skidmore women tipped off the evening's entertainment at 6 p.m. and entered the contest with Clarkson on a two-game-winning streak. The Thoroughbreds, who looked to be in a free fall just four games ago, came in with a few new tricks to overcome a defensively sound Clarkson.
Jordyn Wartts '14 and Molly McLaughlin '15, both with 16 points on the night, fired quick and accurate cross-court passes to get Skidmore players open looks before Clarkson could set up. The skip passing was just one new aspect of the women's game. The College showed more of a willingness to shoot from a distance and run in transition than they had in previous games.
Both Wartts and McLaughlin displayed confidence finishing around the rim, with Wartts making a few tough shots through contact. One reassuring aspect was a play by Angela Botiba '15. Botiba was heavily guarded after her double-double against RIT last week, and although her numbers were down, the grace and confidence she played with was a noticeable improvement after looking a little raw and turnover-prone at the season's start. Botiba finished with six points and six rebounds, and was involved in a key play of the game, streaking to the basket and scoring an athletic put back after Lindsay Davis '15 missed a three-pointer. The final score was 64-53.
The men took the court next at 8 p.m. The opening half was a tense affair, with good match-ups on defense canceling out both teams' offense. It was a tale of two no. 33s as Clarkson's Felix Abango '16 and Skidmore's Conner Merrill '15 traded post moves in the first half's most exciting match-up.
Abango was a handful on the boards, securing eight rebounds in the first half alone. Merrill was equally tenacious on the defensive low post, with five blocks on the night, including a highlight-reel stuff on Abango.
Both teams cooled off significantly as the half wore on, with a 28-21 Skidmore lead going into half time. The offensive spark came from the great play of second-string guard Eric Lowry '16, who had 11 points off the bench and single-handedly broke down the Clarkson offense with some key steals.
As is usual with the Skidmore men during victories, the scoring was spread out, with Perun Kovacevic '15, Lowry, Erik Sanders '16, Merrill, Tanner Brooks '16 and Aldin Medujanin '16 all scoring 10 or more points.
One area of noticeable improvement was in the interior game. Skidmore has relied heavily on three-point shooting in the past. Brooks was cold from beyond the arc for most of the game, but the six-foot guard responded by taking it inside and duking it out with the Clarkson big-men.
The game ended at a comfortable 66-45. The College showed more of a willingness to drive the ball from outside this game, with Sanders and Medunjanin completing a number of athletic layups. The team will enjoy the development of a more nuanced strategy as they head towards a four-game road trip Feb. 11 to 21, and the playoffs loom ever larger.