DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Despite 19 points from Matt Sherman and another 16 points off the bench from Anthony Reyes, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) slipped by the Haverford College men's basketball team on Tuesday evening, 66-62. The contest closed out the Fords' trip to Florida over the winter break.
Matching Haverford's scoring duo on the evening were three double figure scoring efforts for the Engineers. Chase Almond led the way with a 20 point, 17 rebound double-double. Jonathan Luster and Josh Dugas added 14 and 13 points to RPI's final box, respectively. Gibby Graves also finished with a double-double for Haverford as he dished out 10 assists and pulled down 10 rebounds. Lucas Colombo and Walt Plumlee also chipped in on Haverford's offensive effort with nine and eight points, respectively.
The Fords finished with the better of the play in the opening half, leading to a 35-30 advantage at the break. In the early minutes of the contest, RPI led by as many as five points but Haverford used a quick spurt to knot the game at 20-all with just over seven minutes left in the half. A three-pointer from Reyes tied the score, while another three-pointer from Plumlee gave Haverford the lead for the remainder of the half.
At two different times in the final minutes of the opening half, Haverford pushed its lead to seven. On both occasions, it was the Fords putting in the work down low with points in the paint that gave the team its largest lead of the night. The first seven-point lead came at 29-22 as Sherman got in the lane. Reyes would later give Haverford a 35-28 edge with 1:10 left in the half before an RPI jumper made it a 35-30 contest at the break.
After shooting over 46-percent from the field in the opening 20 minutes, including 3-of-7 from distance, the Fords just could not get anything to go at the start of the second half. RPI took full advantage with a 16-0 run before a basket from Sherman got Haverford out of its shooting funk.
Once the lid on the basket was pulled back, Haverford cut the game to a two possession contest four separate times in the next 11 minutes. However, RPI strung together enough points that it still held a 60-53 edge as the game clock showed 1:40 left in the contest.
Sherman cut the deficit to four points with a plus-one following the last RPI free throw. James Levine followed that play up with a steal that led to two more Haverford points, making the score 62-60 with 19 seconds to play.
With Haverford forced to foul, RPI would go on to make four straight free throws in its final two possessions to seal the win. In between the two sets of RPI free throws, Reyes knocked down his own pair of free throws that brought the deficit back to a single possession. However, that second set of RPI free throws put the game out of reach with just four seconds to play before the final whistle.
RPI shot over 57-percent from the field in the second half to take the lead, including a 4-of-7 final 20 minutes from beyond the arc. The Fords made just one less shot from the field than RPI, while five different Haverford players came up with multiple attempts to limit the Engineers' offensive chances. RPI got 16 points from the free throw line, but needed 23 attempts to do so, while Haverford was a very efficient 13-of-15 at the charity stripe on the evening.
Tonight's game marked the final contest of the 2014 calendar year for Haverford. When the calendar flips to 2015, the Fords will have one final non-conference match up at Misericordia on January 3 at 2 p.m. before resuming Centennial Conference play at home against Johns Hopkins on January 7.