The Hobart basketball team secured its fifth straight victory tonight, a 68-59 win at Clarkson, and in the process clinched a spot in the Liberty League’s four-team championship tournament. Sophomore guard Stefan Thompson was a perfect 9-for-9 from the free throw line on his way to a team-high 15 points to pace the Statesmen.
The first time these two teams met, Hobart torched the Knights for 107 points. Tonight’s contest was more of a defensive struggle, but the results was still the same. The Statesmen (18-4, 10-1) shot 45.1 percent from the floor and 77.3 percent from the line. Hobart limited Clarkson to 37 percent shooting and forced 14 turnovers, five more than the Statesmen committed.
Junior forward Matt Pebole chipped in 14 points and a team-high seven rebounds for Hobart, while senior forward Adam Salzmann added a season-high 13 points.
Jonathan Hood led Clarkson (11-11, 3-8) with a double-double of 15 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Felix Llanos added 13 points.
The first half was a nip and tuck affair. The game was tied six times in the opening 20 minutes, the last time was on a layup by Hood with 1:15 left. However, Hobart took a 30-27 lead into halftime thanks to Pebole’s 3-pointer with just under a minute to go.
Salzmann and Hood shared the scoring lead at the break with eight points apiece.
The Statesmen doubled their lead when Salzmann drained a 3-pointer to start the second half scoring. The Golden Knights pulled within one, 37-36, with a 9-4 run, but Hobart scored the game’s next nine points to build a 10-point cushion.
Clarkson made one last push, using an 8-1 run to trim its defict to four, but senior guard Tim Llewellyn netted a 3-pointer to quell the threat.
Hobart held a double digit for most of the final four minutes of the contest.
The Statesmen will be back in action on Saturday, Feb. 12, when they visit St. Lawrence (10-11, 6-5). Tipoff is slated for 4 p.m. The Saints gave Hobart its lone conference loss, 80-77 in overtime, on Jan. 28.