BALANCED SCORING EFFORT LEADS COOPER TO 80-64 ROAD WIN OVER RISD
Last Friday night in Providence, despite a raucous home crowd, on the strength of a late 23-11 run, the Cooper Union Hawks closed out an 80-64 road win over the Rhode Island School of Design.
Cooper Union team captain, Vlad Ciocoi, led the balanced performance with 22 points and 7 rebounds, while the Hawks’ co-captain, Matthew Smarsch, contributed 15 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, and 6 steals. Elsewhere, sophomore forwards Andrew Keane and Adam O’Connor combined for 24 points and 21 rebounds, while junior point guard Andrey Kovalev added 8 points and 6 assists. The late 23-11 run was fueled by balanced offensive and defensive performances, allowing the Hawks to improve their season record to 6-4.
Behind a tough inside attack from Matthew Smarsch and Andrew Keane, the Hawks took an early 12-2 lead. In the middle of the first half, Vlad Ciocoi hit two consecutive jumpers to extend Cooper’s lead to 14. Although Cooper controlled the majority of the first half, RISD continued to fight back and, propelled by the outside shooting of Rocky Hayden and Connor Griffith, cut Cooper’s lead to just four points. With other Hawks in early foul trouble, senior guard Andrew Tallaksen stepped up and hit consecutive buckets, grabbed four strong rebounds, and led a tough defensive stand. This veteran leadership allowed Cooper to close out the first half strong and enter the locker room with a 40-30 lead.
Cooper opened the second half with six consecutive points and held RISD scoreless for the first five minutes of the period. The Hawks extended their lead to 18 behind a pair of three-pointers from Vlad, however, RISD made a valiant comeback thereafter, dropping 12 straight points within a 3-minute span. This run cut the Cooper lead to six and brought the home crowd to a fever pitch. With 10 minutes left in the game, despite the momentum shift, Cooper regained their composure and re-established control of the game, behind the offensive and defensive rebounding from Adam and Keane.
Not only were Cooper Union players performing at a top level, but coaches Rami Said, Dominik Goj and Josh Mayourian did a tremendous job as well. Most important of all, the energy from the Hawks’ fans in attendance spurred on the team to finish the game strong.
Behind a stellar shooting performance of 46% from the field, and holding RISD to a shooting percentage of only 32%, the Hawks went on to close out the game with an 80-64 road victory against their respected rivals.
Cooper Union and RISD will meet again on Saturday, February 20th, in the first round of this year’s Northeast Art School Basketball Invitational tournament, hosted at Baruch College. We hope to see all of you at the next game!