LEICESTER, Mass. --- The Becker College men's basketball team lost 97-78 to visiting Southern Vermont College in a showdown of New England Collegiate Conference powers on Wednesday evening at the Leicester Gymnasium.
Junior forward Samuel Durodola (Rosedale, N.Y. / Campus Magnet) finished with 28 points including 20 in the first half to pace the Hawks of Becker (15-7, 11-2 NECC). Durodola also pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds. Freshman forward Antonio White Jr. (Middletown, Conn. / Middletown) finished with 18 points, four rebounds and two blocks. Senior guard Kyle Credle (Queens, N.Y. / Benjamin N. Cardozo) contributed 13 points, six rebounds and three steals while sophomore guard Kareem Davis (Lowell, Mass. / St. John's) dished out a team-high five assists to go along with seven points. Freshman forward Donzell Cunningham (Linden, N.J. / Piscataway) came off the bench to score seven points.
The Mountaineers of Southern Vermont (13-9, 11-2 NECC) were led by senior forward Nate Goldsmith (Capitol Heights, Md./Bowie HS) with 24 points, shooting five-of-six from behind the arc. Junior guard Mike Pierre (Melrose, N.Y./Hoosick Valley CS) contributed 23 points while pulling down 11 boards and dishing out six assists with two steals, all while shooting 10-of-15 from the floor. Senior guard Rayshawn Taylor (Silver Spring, Md./Wheaton HS) scored 19 points with four assists while junior forward Claude Payne (South Plainfield, N.J./South Plainfield HS) finished with 11. Sophomore guard Josh Borders (Miami, Fla./Coral Springs Charter School) added nine points and seven rebounds. Collectively, the Mountaineers shot 58 percent from the floor and 55 percent from behind the arc.
Both teams went at it right out of the gate, with Becker taking the early lead after a put-back jumper by Credle put the Hawks ahead 10-5 just 3:23 into the game. Southern Vermont responded with a 6-0 run to regain the lead, capped off with a layup from Taylor with 14:19 remaining in the first half. The Mountaineers went up by ten on a layup by Goldsmith with 4:21 left and the score at 39-29. Back came Becker as the Hawks reeled off seven straight points including a three from Credle. A buzzer-beating jumper just before the break from Durodola saw the teams go into the break with Southern Vermont leading 49-44.
In the second half, Becker pulled to within four only to watch the visitors take control with a 14-0 run capped off with a put-back layup from Payne as Southern Vermont opened up a 70-52 lead with 10:22 remaining in the game. Down by as much as 21, the Hawks tried to rally with three straight baskets, pulling to within 74-60 with 7:23 to go on a layup by White. But that was as close as the hosts would get as the Mountaineers pulled away down the stretch.
With his three-pointer with 15:06 left in the second half, Taylor became the 11th player in the history of Southern Vermont College to reach 1000 points for his career.
With the victory, Southern Vermont takes sole possession of first place in the NECC standings by virtue of their tie-breaker over Becker, and, with just three regular season games remaining, they will control their own destiny in the hunt for the coveted number one seed in the upcoming New England Collegiate Conference Championship Tournament.
The Hawks of Becker are back on the court on Tuesday, February 14th when they travel to Wheelock College to face the Wildcats. Tip-off will be at 8:30 p.m. The Mountaineers will also play Wheelock in their next contest, that coming at home on Saturday, February 11th at 3:00 p.m.
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