LEICESTER, Mass. --- Senior forward Samuel Durodola (Rosedale, N.Y. / Campus Magnet) scored 21 points with seven rebounds as the Becker College men's basketball team rallied for a 78-73 win over visiting Mitchell College in the semifinals of the New England Collegiate Conference playoffs on Thursday evening at the Leicester Gymnasium.
The Hawks of Becker (15-11), playing as the number two seed, advance to the NECC Championship final for the seventh time in nine seasons while the third-seeded Mariners of Mitchell (14-13) see their season come to a close.
Junior forward Dewayne Thomas (Springfield, Mass. / Lowell) scored 15 points with five boards for the Hawks, while junior guard Kareem Davis (Lowell, Mass. / St. John's) scored 13 points. Junior guard Jalen Robinson (Queens, N.Y. / Manhasset) came through with 12 points while dishing out six assists and coming away with three steals. Sophomore forward Antonio White Jr. (Middletown, Conn. / Middletown) came off the bench to score 11 points with four rebounds and three assists. Durodola also had two blocks on the defensive end. Collectively, Becker shot 48.4 percent from the floor.
The Mariners were led by junior forward Domenico Santiago (Port St. Lucie, Fla. / Port St. Lucie), who had a monster night with 27 points, 19 rebounds, four blocks and three steals, shooting ten of sixteen from the floor. Junior guard Steffen Brunson (West Haven, Conn. / Hill Regional Career) shot 50 percent from the floor and finished with 19 points, five rebounds and five assists. Sophomore forward Hasani Williams (Miramar, Fla. / Hallandale) finished with 11 points and six boards, while senior guard Brayvon Young (Port St. Lucie, Fla. / St. Lucie West Centennial) chipped in six rebounds.
Becker took a 4-2 lead early on off a Thomas layup, but Mitchell quickly jumped ahead, leading by as much as 11 before going into halftime with a 41-39 advantage.
In the second half, Becker trailed by nine with 6:50 to go and the score 68-59. But the Hawks fought back with a 16-3 run. White started the rally with back-to-back baskets, and Robinson capped off the run with two free throws with 1:28 to go. Durodola put the game away with two free throws with 1.7 seconds left, and Becker advanced.
The Hawks of Becker now advance to the NECC finals. They will travel to Southern Vermont College on Saturday in a rematch of last year's conference championship game. Tip-off is scheduled for 5:00 p.m.
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