BENNINGTON, Vt. — After holding its opponent scoreless through the first eight minutes of play, the Southern Vermont College men's basketball team went on to defeat Becker College 73-58 Tuesday night in New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) action at the Mountaineer Athletic Center.
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The win is SVC's first for the program in 13 meetings and improves the Mountaineers' conference record to 7-0 (13-3 overall). Becker falls to 7-7 overall on the season and 2-3 in NECC play with the loss.
Southern Vermont junior DeShawn Hamlet (Hartford, Connecticut) notched his fifth consecutive game-high for points, scoring 22 Tuesday evening to go with seven rebounds. Senior captain Dolapo Olugbile (Laurel, Maryland) scored eight points to go with his game-bests of 10 boards and three steals while junior Casey Hall (Albany, New York) had eight points, seven rebounds and two blocks. Junior William Bromirski (Cambridge, New York) had nine points and three assists, and junior captain Antoine White (Bethesda, Maryland) added another three helpers to go with his five points and three rebounds.
Becker was led by senior captain Donovin Ford-Hayes (Windsor Locks, Connecticut) who tallied 20 points on a 6-12 clip from three-point range, adding a game-high four assists in the effort. Junior Reginald Finney (Ansonia, Connecticut) followed with 14 points and tied his team-high of five rebounds while junior Scott Dulaire (Bloomfield, Connecticut) chipped in with six points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Southern Vermont shot 46.3 percent from the floor (25-53) while going 11-21 (52.4 percent) on shots from beyond the arc. Becker finished with a 21-54 clip on field goal attempts (38.2 percent) with a 9-21 performance from downtown. SVC held just a 24-22 edge on points in the paint and forced five more Hawk turnovers than its opponent (19-14); the Mountaineers were able to turn those takeaways into a 31-18 advantage on points off turnovers for the night.
An early Bromirski three put SVC on top quickly, and the Mountaineer would never trail the rest of the way. Less than two minutes later, he spotted up from about 10 feet behind the arc and took the open shot, nailing another trey for the 6-0 lead. The junior then made a nice pass to Olugbile who was driving hard at the hoop down the left side of the lane; appearing to be going for the dunk, a Hawk defender forced the Mountaineer captain to pull the ball back while in mid-air, swing his arms under the basket and lay it off the glass for the reverse and 8-0 upper hand that forced a Becker timeout.
The hosts carried on their scoring ways through the next five minutes as BC was still looking for its first points. Ford-Hayes spotted up and hit one from outside the perimeter to get his team on the board, but Southern Vermont freshman Daemond Carter (Forestville, Maryland) answered on the next possession with a three of his own to put his team ahead 19-3. Not long after, White took a pass and drove the baseline, but BC's defense prevented him from getting a shot off; instead, he found Bromirski open on the left side of the arc, and the junior drilled his third from downtown to make it a 29-8 ballgame.
Attempting to get his team back in it, Ford-Hayes started to get hot from the outside, hitting four three-pointers in the final five minutes of the first half. But SVC's offense continued to hit its shots on the other end to keep its distance and send the game to the break with the Mountaineers holding a 40-21 lead.
Southern Vermont's advantage was big enough to withstand being outscored 37-33 by Becker in the second half while winning its sixth straight game. SVC pressed the Hawks in transition, but BC broke it and found players in the key for a handful of scores. Back-to-back Finney layups cut the Mountaineer lead to 47-33, the closest Becker would get the rest of the night, before Southern Vermont responded with a 10-0 run to prevent BC from staging a comeback. The highlight of the night then came at the 8:41 mark of the second period when Bromirski tossed the ball towards the rim where Olugbile flew in and slammed home the alley-oop to all but end it.