CANTON - The St. Lawrence University mens basketball team delivered its best performance of the 2012-13 season thus far on Tuesday night, as senior Kyle Miller paced the Saints to a resilient 76-64 victory over Skidmore College in the Liberty League opener.
Miller had a game-high 18 points, Massena product Brady Condlin added 15 points and 10 rebounds and junior Payton Stahler added a spark off the bench with eight points and 10 boards en route to snapping a four-game losing skid.
St. Lawrence, which shot 54% in the second half from the floor including 57% from three-point land, improves to 3-7 (1-0). Skidmore, which was led by Connor Merrills 17 points, falls to 7-5 (1-2) after failing to keep the home team from delivering big shots.
Though Skidmore took a 5-0 lead in the early minutes, the Saints used outstanding perimeter shooting and an inside presence from junior Janpeter Brase to build a lead throughout the first half. Rookie Matt McTague gave the Saints a 13-12 lead with 10:53 to play on a three-pointer which kick-started a 13-0 run in under 3:00 minutes for a 23-12 cushion. Skidmore would get within six, 32-26, at halftime thanks to buckets from Sakhile Sithole and Kevin Dahill.
The Thoroughbreds would carry some momentum into the second half, scoring the first five points again to make it a one-point game, 32-31, on a three-pointer by the teams leading scorer Tanner Brooks. Miller would respond in style with an ensuing triple, while Trent Benton and Al Jones followed to keep the lead intact.
St. Lawrence kept its poise and energy throughout a second half in which they never relinquished the lead. Brooks lay-up with 6:54 to go kept the Thoroughbreds within striking distance at 61-57, but Miller again answered with a huge three to push the advantage back to seven.
Down six with 2:24 minutes remaining, Skidmore simply couldnt get a stop on the defensive end, as Brase tipped the ball in off a miss to extend the cushion to 69-61. Stahler then sealed the game with an acrobatic save on the end line, firing the ball back on to the court where Brooks then committed his fifth foul and had to finish the game on the bench. Miller knocked down both free throws to seal the victory, as the Saints closed out their first win of 2013, 76-64.
Brase closed with 10 points and eight rebounds, while Jones had a game-high five assists for the Scarlet and Brown. Sithole added 13 points and five rebounds for Skidmore, which was done in by poor three-point shooting (26%).
St. Lawrence will look to build on the conference win when it hosts Vassar College on Friday at 8 p.m.
SLU WOMEN SURGE TO WIN
The SLU women used a 29-4 run midway through the second half en route to an impressive 67-52 victory over Skidmore in their 2013 Liberty League opener in the Burkman Gymnasium. Sophomore Kara McDuffee scored a game-high 19 points and eight rebounds, while junior Kelly Legg chipped in 16 points and eight rebounds.
The Saints, who shot 44.4 percent from the floor in the game, improved to 7-3 on the season and 1-0 in the conference. Sophomore Ally Cady scored nine points and added four assists and four steals, while first-year student Amanda Roberts scored six points and dished out nine assists. Meanwhile, the Thoroughbreds, led by Molly McLaughlins nine points and four rebounds, fell to 4-8 and suffered their first Liberty League loss, moving to 2-1.
St. Lawrence used 7-of-9 shooting in the opening ten minutes to take an 18-7 lead. After two pairs of free throws, the Saints entered a scoreless drought for more than six minutes. Meanwhile, Skidmore cut into the deficit, and a jumper by McLaughlin brought the Thoroughbreds to within three points (22-19) with 3:15 left in the first half. First-year student Amanda Roberts ended the scoreless drought for the home team with a three-pointer at 2:59, and the Saints went on a 10-3 run to close the half, leading 32-22.
In the second half, Skidmore battled back to within five points (34-29) in the opening minutes. However, the Saints used a 29-4 run midway through the second stanza to build a 63-24 lead with 7:05 remaining.
St. Lawrence will be back in action on Friday as it hosts Vassar College in the Burkman Gymnasium starting at 6 p.m.