NEW LONDON, Conn. – The Southern Vermont College men's basketball team bounced back from a tough Tuesday loss to defeat Mitchell College 92-78 Thursday night in New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) play at Yarnall Athletic Center.
An 11-2 run midway through the first helped SVC go into the break with a 14-point advantage, and the Mountaineers then maintained their separation through the second half to take the league victory.
Southern Vermont (12-4) and Mitchell (8-8) both now sit at 4-1 in league play—along with Becker College and Lesley University. The Mountaineers look to improve upon that Conference mark on Saturday with a 3 p.m. home game against Elms College.
SVC junior Josh Borders (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) surpassed his previous career-high by 10 in chalking up a game-best 32 points, and he added six assists and four rebounds to his line. Senior Mike Pierre (Melrose, N.Y.) followed with 22 points while dishing out another six assists, and sophomore Aaron Murray (Camden, N.J.) came off the bench to record seven points and a team-high nine rebounds in the win.
The visitors went 34-55 (51.5 percent) from the floor as MC finished with a 46.2 percent (30-65) clip from field goal range. The Mountaineers knocked down 11 treys to Mitchell's six, but the hosts had a 38-30 upper hand in points from the paint. Both teams pulled down 36 rebounds, and SVC outscored the Mariners 26-18 in points off turnovers.
Southern Vermont scored seven-straight points to open the game—forcing Mitchell to call a timeout less than two minutes in. Senior Claude Payne (South Plainfield, N.J.), junior Andrew Hodo (Rockville, Md.), and Pierre each provided buckets during the stretch as the Mountaineers got off to the hot start.
Later in the half, a pair of free throws pulled the Mariners within four at 13-9. However, Southern Vermont went on another run—this time putting up eight unanswered to stretch the lead to double digits; Payne scored twice during the spurt while Murray capped things with a layup to make it 21-9 with 12:24 to play in the half.
The Mountaineers took a 51-37 lead into the locker room at intermission. Borders had 18 points at the break and shot 7-9 in the half including a 4-for-5 performance from deep.
3-pointers from Pierre and Borders opened the second period and gave SVC its largest lead of the night at 57-37. Mitchell later answered with a 7-0 run which cut the deficit to 11 at 61-50, but Pierre responded with a jumper to get the visitors back on track.
Southern Vermont pumped the lead back to 19 before the Mariners rallied again as Mitchell cut it to 10 with 7:51 remaining. Pierre had the answer once more, however—draining a three on SVC's next possession to end the threat. The Mountaineers coasted to the finish and never let their lead dip into single digits through the final horn.
– #LetsGoSVC –
Mitchell College Sports Information contributed to this recap.