Hamilton College shot just 30 percent from the floor and the second-seeded Continentals were upset by No. 3 Rensselaer 64-55 in a Liberty League championship tournament semifinal contest at St. Lawrence University's Burkman Gymnasium on Feb. 27.
Lance Wilson '11 paced the Hamilton offense with 17 points and three assists. 2009 league Rookie of the Year Patrick Sullivan '12 contributed 11 points and all-league First Team selection Harlee Wood '09 added 10 to go with six rebounds and three steals before he fouled out with 1:11 remaining.
Hamilton (18-7 overall) had appeared in the tournament championship game in each of the previous six years. The win is the first for the Red Hawks (14-12) against Hamilton this season. The Continentals claimed both matchups during the regular season.
Hamilton jumped out to a 9-4 lead early. Rensselaer fought back and took a 25-22 lead into halftime. Hamilton shot just 26 percent from the floor in the opening 20 minutes.
The Continentals evened the score at 29-29 just four minutes into the second half with a 7-4 run. Sullivan registered a three-point play, and Ephraim McDowell '12 and Wilson each made layups during the spurt.
The teams exchanged baskets to force the fourth and final tie at 31-31. Rensselaer recorded a three-point play and never trailed the rest of the way. The Red Hawks held a nine-point advantage at 49-40 with 6:30 to play. Hamilton cut its deficit to four points at 53-49 on a Wilson trey with 2:31 left but did not get any closer.
Hamilton shot just 24 percent from three-point range in the loss. Rensselaer enjoyed a 54-34 lead on the glass.
The Red Hawks will play top seed St. Lawrence for the tournament title and automatic NCAA tournament bid on Saturday, Feb. 28, at 3 p.m. Hamilton must wait to find out if it will receive an at-large bid to the tournament. The rest of the NCAA field will be announced by Monday morning.