BENNINGTON, Vt. – The Southern Vermont College men's basketball team suffered its first home loss of the year Wednesday night as Mitchell College claimed an 82-74 New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) victory at the Mountaineer Athletic Center.
MC never trailed and went up by 15 during the first half before bringing a 40-28 lead to the locker room. SVC pushed to make a comeback and eventually got within four late in the game, but the Mariners held off the hosts to snap their five-game losing streak at the MAC; Mitchell's last win in Bennington was a 93-80 victory on February 12, 2013.
Southern Vermont finishes the regular season at 16-8 overall and 10-6 in Conference play; the Mountaineers now await the league's Saturday announcement of the championship tournament seeding to see who and where they will be playing. Mitchell (16-8, 10-5 NECC) concludes its regular season on Saturday with a 2:30 p.m. home game against Dean College.
SVC was led by senior Andre Hodo (Silver Spring, Md.) who had 21 points, nine rebounds, three assists, and three steals. Sophomore Donnell Frayer Jr. (Upper Marlboro, Md.) tallied 17 points, four assists, and three boards while senior Josh Borders (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) added another 17 points along with five rebounds.
Mitchell senior Steffen Brunson (West Haven, Conn.) had a stellar night with a game-high 31 points, and he also tallied eight rebounds and six assists in the win; at halftime, Brunson had 19 points on an 8-14 clip from the floor. Classmate Domenico Santiago (Port St. Lucie, Fla.) chalked up a double-double with 15 points and a game-best 11 boards, and he added five assists to his line. Junior Hasani Williams (Miramar, Fla.) also reached double figures with 12 points in the effort, and he had six rebounds for MC.
The Mariners shot 53.6 percent (30-56) on field goal attempts while SVC went 27-64 (42.2 percent) from the floor. The visitors had a 37-33 edge in rebounds and outscored the Mountaineers 12-4 in fast-break points. Southern Vermont posted a 28-12 upper hand in points off turnovers, but Mitchell was able to edge SVC 36-32 in the paint while knocking down eight 3-pointers to the Mountaineers' six.
Baskets went back-and-forth in the early going as both teams came out shooting well. The two sides traded spurts through most of the first half as Southern Vermont had an answer each time MC tried to pull away. Mitchell would finally get some breathing room in the final five minutes with a 12-0 run which included eight Bruson points—six coming from downtown.
A Brunson layup gave the Mariners their biggest lead of the night (49-31) early into the second period, but SVC came clawing back. After Borders had only two points at the break, he started to heat up with 11:40 left to go and helped the Mountaineers chip away at their deficit. Down by 13, Southern Vermont went on a 9-2 run—Borders providing five points in that stretch—to make it just a 68-62 difference.
The SVC senior then hit a pair of late 3-pointers to get his team within four in the final minute of action. That would be the closest the Mountaineers could get, however, as Mitchell went 4-4 from the free throw line in the waning seconds to register six unanswered points and become the only team to sweep Southern Vermont this year.
– #LetsGoSVC –