LEICESTER, Mass. – Southern Vermont College held off Becker College late in Saturday's New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) men's basketball game at Leicester Gymnasium, and the visiting Mountaineers then held on to outlast the Hawks 79-74 and sweep the season series.
SVC went into the break on top by a narrow 29-28 margin, and the second half was a well-contested period as Becker tied it at 64-64 with 3:17 to go. After the Mountaineers went on to score the next seven points, the Hawks came back and had a chance to tie it in the final minute after a technical foul.
The 3-point attempt went wayward, however, and Southern Vermont was able to close it out from the free throw line.
SVC (15-6, 9-4 NECC) is back on the road for its next game—heading to New England College on Wednesday for a big-time 6 p.m. showdown. With three league contests left, the Mountaineers currently sit in second place of the Conference standings while another pair of teams have four losses.
Southern Vermont senior Josh Borders (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) had his second-straight game with 24 points—that being the sixth time this year that he has reached the 20-point plateau; prior to the 2018-19 season, he had reached that mark just four times.
Fellow SVC senior Andre Hodo (Silver Spring, Md.) chalked up his 10th double-double of the year with 18 points and a game-high 13 rebounds, and he added six assists and five steals to his line. Sophomore Donnell Frayer Jr. (Upper Marlboro, Md.) and senior Aaron Murray (Camden, N.J.) each had 10 points with Murray nearing a double-double as he grabbed eight boards. Sophomore Kajuan Kinsey (Deerfield Beach, Fla.) also had 10 points in 23 minutes off the bench.
The free throw line once again proved to be a pivotal aspect of Southern Vermont's success as the visitors went 15-17 for an 88.2 percentage. Through Saturday's games, SVC leads the league from the charity stripe in Conference games by hitting 80.8 percent of its freebies—the next closest team being Dean College at 75.7 percent. The Mountaineers have registered a percentage of at least 85 in eight of their games this year—six of those being wins.
SVC shot 43.3 percent (29-67) from the floor on Saturday while Becker went 26-55 (47.3 percent), and the Hawks tallied 13 triples to the Mountaineers' six. The hosts also had a 36-35 edge in rebounds, but the difference maker was in how the teams took care of the ball; Southern Vermont committed just five turnovers while Becker had 17, and the visitors made the most of those mistakes to outscore Becker 18-8 in points off giveaways.
There were six lead changes and seven times the score was tied throughout the late afternoon as the two sides jostled to maintain an upper hand. Becker went on top by seven midway through the opening 20 minutes, but the Mountaineers came back with 12 unanswered points—Hodo notching six of those. The Hawks responded, however, as the back-and-forth continued.
After consecutive treys put Becker up by six in the front end of the second half, SVC eventually tied it at 55-55 with 7:39 on the clock. The Hawks' long-distance shooting kept them in it and helped even things once again in the waning minutes, but the Mountaineers went on a quick surge to make it a two-possession game.
Becker wasn't done just yet and took advantage of an SVC technical—hitting the two free throws and taking the ball down by just three. Despite the game-tying attempt being off the mark with 45 seconds left, the hosts hit a pair of shots from beyond the perimeter in the final 11 ticks to—once again—make it a 3-point game. Southern Vermont senior Kyle Depollar (Rockville, Md.) would convert on a pair of free throws after a Becker timeout, however, for the Mountaineers to clinch the victory.
– #LetsGoSVC –