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Abongo’s career night sparks Clarkson men past SLU

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CANTON - Sophomore Felix Abongo (Beacon, NY) scored a career-high 29 points on 11-15 shooting as the Clarkson University men’s basketball team won its first conference game of the season with a 79-68 victory over St. Lawrence Tuesday night.

The Golden Knights improved to 7-4 overall and 1-1 in league play, while St. Lawrence fell to 4-7 and 1-2.

Right from the start of the first half, Abongo was a match up nightmare for St. Lawrence, as he was too quick for the forwards and too big for the Saints guard to cover him. Abongo was the key offensive force for the Knights in a late first-half run that allowed the Knights to turn a modest two-point lead (25-23 with six minutes remaining) into a 41-25 advantage at the break. Abongo scored seven of his 18 first-half points in that stretch, changing the momentum of the first half strongly in favor of Clarkson.

Clarkson shot 16-31 from the floor in the first half, including a 7-9 performance from Abongo. John Coleman (Potsdam, NY) also chipped in eight points as Clarkson’s starters combined to score 39 of the team’s 41 first-half points. The Knights also did an outstanding job of ball control, committing just two turnovers while flipping nine assists

In the second half, the Saints tried to shut down Abongo in the early going with double teams to restrict his opportunities, but other members of the Knights stepped up. Marques Charlton (Deer Park, NY) made three 3-point field goals in the second half to spark a run, scoring 10 of Clarkson’s 12 points during a 12-3 run that pushed Clarkson’s lead to a game-high 19 points late in the second half. From there, Abongo took over again, converting a 3-point play in the lane to get his career high, then adding two more baskets to push his point total to 29.

St. Lawrence made the Knights earn the victory, heading inside to produce its points and shooting 16-23 in the second half (69.6%). Fortunately, Clarkson was nearly as good, making 15 of 26 (57.7%) to maintain a double-digit advantage for the majority of the half.

Along with Abongo’s career-performance, Charlton added in 16 points on 6-11 shooting and also contributed seven assists and a pair of steals. Coleman added 10 points, five rebounds and three steals.

For St. Lawrence, Kyle Edwards had a team-best 16 points while Al Jones and Janpeter Brase produced 14 and 13 points, respectively.

St. Lawrence will be in action again on Friday when it heads to Elmira College to make up a game that was postponed due to weather. The Saints and Soaring Eagles will tip off at 6 p.m.

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