Potsdam downs Clarkson in home opener, 77-65


POTSDAM, N.Y.—The SUNY Potsdam men's basketball team (1-2) never trailed as the Bears downed the Clarkson Golden Knights (3-1) 77-65 in their home opener. Senior guard Mark Lake, Jr. scored a game-high 23 points to lead Potsdam and junior forward Rob Duquette recorded a double-double with 14 points and 11 boards.

Potsdam jumped out to a 2-0 lead on a layup from Lake 18 seconds into the contest and never trailed. A jumper by junior forward Colin Peterson gave the Bears a 15-8 advantage at 12:41. The Golden Knights answered with a 6-0 run capped by a junior guard Marques Charlton to get to within 15-14. Freshman guard Joe Estramonte sparked a 9-2 Potsdam response with a three-pointer with 10:28 left. Three minutes later, another layup from Lake gave the Bears an eight-point, 24-16 lead, their largest of the half. Potsdam kept Clarkson at arm's length the rest of the half and took a 37-33 lead into the break.

Strong shooting from the Golden Knights early in the second half got them to within 41-40 at the 17:34 mark. The Bears built their lead back to 51-44 with a short barrage including a three from Peterson and a loud dunk from senior captain Curtis Pierce. However, Clarkson wouldn't go away. Two free throws from forward Jerry Coleman trimmed the Potsdam lead to 52-51 with 10:18 on the clock. Another Bears burst gave them a 64-55 lead with just over four minutes to play. Lake iced the contest with a jumper at 1:11. Potsdam added a few more points from the free throw line to close out the 77-65 victory. 

Peterson finished the contest with a career-high 13 points and Pierce added another 11 points and seven rebounds. Potsdam shot nearly 48 percent from the floor and hit five of six three-pointers in the first half.

Coleman led Clarkson with 22 points and Charlton chipped in another 16 points. Freshman guard Felix Abongo (Beacon, N.Y./Iona Prep) also hit double-digits with 13 points. Clarkson hit 33 percent of its shots, but was just 2-18 from beyond the arc in the second half.

Bears Head Coach Sherry Dobbs was pleased with his team at both ends of the court.

“I was most happy with our defense tonight,” said Bears Head Coach Sherry Dobbs. “I thought Zac Adams played tremendous defensive basketball and was really a key for us. He did exactly what we asked him to. Other guys were able to feed off that and really defend and rebound the way I think we should.”

Dobbs also had plenty of praise for his offensive stars.

“I thought Mark and Colin both made shots at times of the game where we needed to make plays,” added Dobbs. “They shot the ball well. Mark made some plays down the stretch where we needed a basket. He's got the ability to get to the rim, which really helped us and Joe Estramonte did some good things as a point guard and made some plays for us. We're pleased with the progress we've made and now we've got to build off that into the weekend.”

Potsdam opens SUNYAC play on the road this weekend. The Bears take on Cortland at 8 p.m. on Friday and Oswego at 6 p.m. on Saturday.