HENNIKER, N.H. – Southern Vermont College came close to giving New England College its second blemish on the league record Wednesday night, but the visiting Mountaineers eventually lost 86-79 in an overtime New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) bout at Bridges Gym.
SVC went into the locker room on top 47-44 and held a similar lead late in regulation. The Pilgrims were able to tie it up with 33 seconds left, however, and neither side could score the rest of the way as the two teams went to overtime for the second time this year. NEC then outscored the Mountaineers by seven in the extra session to split the season series.
Southern Vermont (15-7, 9-5 NECC) is next in action on Saturday with a 1 p.m. home game against Lesley University; the six Mountaineer seniors will be honored that day prior to tip-off.
Sophomore Donnell Frayer Jr. (Upper Marlboro, Md.) led SVC with 28 points while adding six rebounds and two assists to his line. Senior Andre Hodo (Silver Spring, Md.) followed with 22 points, four assists, and two steals, and he also had a team-high seven boards on the night. Senior Josh Borders (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) tallied 14 points, five rebounds, four assists, and three steals in the effort.
The Mountaineers went 29-66 (43.9 percent) from the floor while New England was right behind at 42.3 percent (30-71). The Pilgrims grabbed a 44-32 upper hand in rebounds, however, and turned that into a 22-14 advantage in second-chance points. NEC also outscored SVC 30-20 from the paint.
The evening was well-contested from the jump as there were seven lead changes and 12 times at which the score was tied; additionally, neither team led by double digits until the final minute of overtime. NEC was up by six early on before SVC came back with a 7-1 run capped by a Frayer Jr. triple. The rest of the half was a tough back-and-forth until Southern Vermont notched seven unanswered points in the last 58 seconds to go into the break ahead.
Another Frayer Jr. basket from downtown put SVC in front by six with 12:46 to go in the second half, but New England responded and would take the lead at 65-64 a few minutes later. The Mountaineers tallied six-straight points for a late upper hand, but they were held scoreless through the final four minutes as NEC staged a comeback. The hosts hit a layup with 33 ticks on the clock, and both teams would miss go-ahead 3-pointers in the waning seconds.
New England hit a trey on its first possession of overtime and never looked back. That was the start of an 11-1 run which helped put it away for the Pilgrims and avenge their 76-73 loss to SVC on January 12.
Borders went 3-4 from the free throw line on the night with his miss coming at the 1:39 mark of the overtime period; that ended his streak of 48 consecutively-made freebies.
– #LetsGoSVC –