CHESTNUT HILL, MA – The Southern Vermont College Men's basketball team continued its road struggles, Saturday afternoon at Wheelock College. The Mountaineers fell 78-59, in a New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) contest this afternoon at Brunelli Court on the campus of Pine Manor College in Chestnut Hill, MA.
Freshman guard Hunter Stratton (Bennington, VT) led the Mountaineers with 16 points to go with three rebounds, two assists and a steal. Taeshon Johnson (Charlotte, NC) posted his eighth double-double of the season with 15 points and 12 rebounds in addition to blocking four shots and making two steals. Freshman forward Cory Christensen (Sharon, CT) also registered a double-double with 15 points and 11 boards.
Senior center Eric Rice (Woburn, MA) scored a career-high 26 points to lead the Wildcats to its third straight win. Rice made the most of his field goal attempts, going 11-16, hitting from inside the blocks and with mid-range jumpers, while grabbing two rebounds, handing out three assists and collecting a steal for the Wildcats.
Senior guard Max Kaim (Fort Lauderdale, FL) chipped in with 13 points on 6-12 shooting, five rebounds, two assists and a steal, while Kyle Pierce finished with 11 points on 4-8 from the floor and added six boards, four assists and a steal. Junior swingman Bashir Hudson (Jamaica Plain, MA) contributed with four points, a game-high 15 rebounds and six assists in addition to three blocks in 23 minutes off the bench.
Wheelock never trailed in the game and held Southern Vermont to just 37.7% (23-61) shooting for the contest. The Wildcats held the Mountaineers without a field goal over the opening six and a half minutes of play, while building a 12-1 lead.
Taeshon Johnson knocked down a jump shot at the 14:23 mark of the first half as part of seven straight points from Southern Vermont to cut the deficit to 12-8. Wheelock answered with a dozen unanswered points to take its largest lead of the first half at 24-8 with 9:09 showing in the period. The Wildcats led by double-digits for almost the entire rest of the half, before taking a 34-25 lead into halftime.
The Mountaineers scored 10 of the first 12 points of the second stanza, capped by a three-pointer from freshman guard Travis Severs (Bennington, VT) to pull them to within a point at 36-35. That would be as close as they would come as Wheelock put the game out of reach with a 24-6 stretch, that saw Rice score 11 points, to take a 60-41 advantage. Southern Vermont got no closer than within 13 points and the Wildcats led by as many as 21 the rest of the way.
With the win Wheelock has won four of their last five to improve to 7-8 overall and 5-2 in NECC play, while the Mountaineers fall to 2-14 and 2-6. Wheelock will be in action again on Tuesday, January 24 when it travels to nearby Cambridge, MA to take on NECC foe Lesley University at Buckingham, Browne & Nichols gymnasium at 8:00 p.m. The Mountaineers head to Leicester, MA on the same night to face league leading Becker College at 7:00 p.m