Townes Nets 30 But Hawks Fall in Home Opener to Skidmore, 96-85

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            ONEONTA, NY – Freshman guard Kevin Townes (Lagrangeville, NY/Our Lady of Lourdes) dropped in 30 points for Hartwick but the visiting Skidmore Thoroughbreds would come away with a 96-85 win on Saturday at Lambros Arena to spoil the Hawks' home opener.

            Townes, who scored only five points in his collegiate debut against Union on Wednesday, hit 7-of-19 from the field, five three-pointers, and went 11-of-12 from the free-throw line to pace the Hawks. Brandon LaForest (Cohoes, NY/Cohoes) contributed 17 points for 'Wick. Marc du Moulin (Altamont, NY/Guilderland) added 13 and tied for a game-high with nine boards.

            Skidmore, which entered the game receiving votes in the national preseason poll, would take an 11-9 advantage with 14:10 remaining in the first half on a three-pointer from Jack Byrne and the Thoroughbreds held onto the lead for the rest of the day. They would shoot a blistering 62% (31-of-50) from the floor in the game yet the Hawks stayed close throughout the contest.

            Both teams would shoot for over 58% from the field in the first half. Skidmore took its biggest lead of the half, 17-9, with 12:28 left on a Marcus Jackson jumper, but the Hawks would keep the deficit to six points or less for the remainder of the half.

            'Wick trimmed the gap to a single possession 10 separate times over the final 10 and a half minutes. A Tommy Kelly (Niskayuna, NY/Niskayuna) jumper with under a minute left made it 47-45 before a Skidmore free throw pushed the Thoroughbred lead to three, 48-45, at halftime.

            A 10-0 run to start the second half gave the visitors their biggest lead of the game, 58-45, with 16:33 left to play in the game. The Hawks hung tough and kept the margin under 10 for the final 12 minutes.

            A Patrick Garey (Johnson City, NY/Johnson City) layup made the score 78-75 with just over five minutes left to play. Following two Edvinas Rupkus free throws on the other end, Townes connected on a trey with 4:18 on the clock and a du Moulin free throw 32 ticks later made it 80-79.

            The two teams traded points over the next two and a half minutes with the Hawks keeping the margin to four points or less. Two LaForest shots from the free-throw line with 1:40 remaining cut the Skidmore lead to two, 87-85, but an old-fashioned three-point play from Rupkus 23 seconds later built the Thoroughbred lead back up to five, 90-85.

            The Hawks would miss on a three-point attempt on their next possession and Dakpe Yiljep countered with a three for Skidmore with 35 seconds left to put the game away. The Thoroughbreds made 3-of-4 from the line down the stretch with 'Wick coming up empty in its final two offensive trips.

            Rupkus closed the day with a team-high 25 points, including an 11-for-11 showing at the line. He added nine rebounds and dished out seven assists. Yiljep scored 21 points with Byrne finishing with 14 and Chase Ta netting 13. Ta also delivered seven assists. The Thoroughbreds would sink 11 of their 21 three-point attempts (52%) for the game.

            Garey and Corey Baker (Granby, MA/Granby) each scored eight points for 'Wick. Kelly contributed seven.

            Hartwick (0-2) looks for its first win of the season on Tuesday night went it travels to Bard College. Tip-off is 7 p.m.