CHICOPEE, Mass. – Mitchell College Parris Hill (Stockton, Calif.) netted a game-high 29 points and tired for the team-high in rebounds with 11 to help the second-seed Mariners best No. 3 Becker College, 87-78 in Friday evening's New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) Championship tournament semifinal men's basketball game at Picknelly Arena.
With the win, Mitchell improves to 18-7 overall and advances to its first-ever NECC Championship title game. The Mariners will play top-seeded Elms College which topped No. 5 Regis College, 81-71 in overtime in the other semifinal contest. The championship game will take place on Saturday, March 1 at 2:00 p.m. at Picknelly Arena. Becker concludes its season 15-12 overall.
Hill led all scorers with 29 points on 12 of 17 shooting from the floor and 5 of 6 from the line, while Joshua Ford (Jersey City, N.J.) and Frank Martin (Port St. Lucie, Fla.) netted 21 points each to help spark the Mariners' win. Ford was 8 of 17 from the field and also added 11 rebounds, while Martin drilled five treys en route to his 21 points.
Alex Del Rio (New Britain, Conn.) was terrific in guiding the Mitchell offense dishing out a game-high 10 assists including a pair to Alex Pires (Valhalla, N.Y.) who drained a pair of crucial three-pointers in the first half.
Becker received a stellar 24-point effort from Kyle Credle (Queens, N.Y.) who hit on 11 of 17 from the floor, while Tyler Roberson (Irvington, N.J.) hit on 9 of 14 from the field including 3 of 5 from beyond the arc and finished with 22 points.
Scott Dulaire (Bloomfield, Conn.) was impressive off the bench notching 10 points on 4 of 9 shooting and corralled a game-high 12 rebounds. Roberson and Donovin Ford-Hayes (Windsor Locks, Conn.) dished out three assists each, while Ford-Hayes chipped in seven points in the losing effort.
Dulaire swatted four shots for the Hawks and David Maturah (Windsor Locks, Conn.) contributed a pair of blocks.
The first half featured back and forth action and Credle and Hill went toe-to-toe and finished with 12 points each in the period. Ford added 11 points for the Mariners who shot 51.6-percent from the field as a team in the first 20 minutes and posted a nine-point, 38-29 lead at intermission.
In the second stanza, Becker methodically closed the gap and with 5:41 to play in regulation, narrowed its deficit to four (64-60) when Rashaun Liggon (Elizabeth, N.J.) hit a jumper. However, that's as close as the Hawks could get as Anthony Epps (Norwalk, Conn.) powered in a bucket underneath and converted the ensuing free throw after being fouled to extend the lead back to seven (67-60). Martin then made a pair of foul shots and delivered a strike from three-point range run the lead to 12 at 72-60 with 4:37 to play.
Another Martin swish from long distance gave Mitchell its largest advantage of the game (15 points) and set the score to 77-62 with 2:49 to play.
A Roberson layup pulled Becker to within seven with just under a minute to play, but four made free throws by Martin, and a dunk by Hill helped seal the 87-78 victory.