Posted by Matt Choi
Both Skidmore basketball teams took the court against St. Lawrence this past Tuesday, Jan. 28. The Skidmore women came into the game 1-6 in conference play and on the outside of the playoff race looking in. The game tipped off at 6:10p.m. after a delay caused by a shot-clock malfunction. Both teams were without the shot-clock for the duration of the game, and relied instead on the PA announcer to count down the clock from 10 seconds. Although competitive in the game's early stages, the Skidmore women were eventually outmuscled by St. Lawrence, most notably in a 13-2 Saints run to start the second half. The game had been competitive up until that point, and guard Jordyn Wartts '14 did her best to will her team back into the game with several three point plays, but the Saints early second half run would prove fatal a result of excellent 18 point performances from players McDuffee and Dalton.
If Skidmore can take some positives away from this game, it's in limiting turnovers, a full-court press that continues to cause problems for the opposition, and a resurgence in confidence from Jordyn Wartts. Skidmore is averaging 16 turnovers, two over the league average, and committed only 12 on the night. Wartts had a difficult game against Union in Skidmore's last home game, but seems to have responded well over the past three games and was a handful off the dribble on Tuesday. Backcourt partner Molly McLaughlin '15 struggled shooting the ball but pitched in 4 assists on the night. She was visibly frustrated as she fouled out as Skidmore applied full court pressure in an attempt to salvage the game late on. The equation may well change for the Skidmore women in the coming weeks, as the playoffs slip further from their grasp, and they begin to look towards developing talent and alternative ways to win.
The technical difficulties continued on into the men's game, as the scoreboard was added to the list of electronic casualties, and a small scoring role had to be placed on the scorers' table to display the point totals. The Skidmore men, also struggling as of late in the Liberty League, came in 3-4 after losing two straight games on the road. They vented some frustration in the first half with an absolutely relentless three point shooting display. Guard Tanner Brooks '16 made several threes from what looked like NBA 3-point territory, but it was his partner Aldin Medunjanin '16 who was lighting it up early with five first half three pointers. Highlight plays were spread throughout the roster in the first half, as forward Eric Sanders '16 threw down a break away dunk, and big men Connor Merrill '15 and Perun Kovacevic '15 traded blocks and post-up points inside the paint.
The second half would be an entirely different issue after a 42-28 half time score. Saint Lawrence employed a zone defense to perfection and greatly limited the three point opportunities for much of the half. Saints guard Al Jones made a three to spark a furious St. Lawrence run, cutting the lead to one in the final minutes of the game. Skidmore looked lost on interior offense at times, with several turnovers and missed layups in the post, and so it was no surprise that their salvation came in the form of Tanner Brooks' 3-point shooting. Brooks proved to be the Thoroughbred's clutch player of the night, scoring the team's final 9 points from a range that no coach accounts for in his defensive plan. Despite the Saints run, Skidmore will take solace in the fact that they were able to return to .500 in conference play, and grind out a tough victory. They will also enjoy holding Saints star Brady Condalin, averaging 18 points across all competitions, to zero points on ten attempts. Despite the good defensive work and long range shooting, the Thoroughbred men may have to work on their interior and mid-range game for when the 3-pointer isn't an option if they want to meet this seasons' lofty expectations.