Bennington, VT – The Sage Colleges' men's basketball team travelled to Southern Vermont College for a non-conference contest with the Mountaineers.
A strong defensive effort and a 21-point performance by sophomore forward DeShawn Hamlet (Hartford, Conn.) in the second half helped propel Southern Vermont College to a 101-90 win over the visiting Sage Colleges Gators Saturday afternoon in non-conference men's basketball action at the Mountaineer Athletic Center.
Hamlet would wind up with a game-best 33 points while sophomore captain Antoine White (Germantown, Md.) added another 23 for the hosts. Gator senior captain Mason Horne (Albany, NY/LaSalle Institute) notched a double-double with 26 points and 10 rebounds, and sophomore forward Melvin Ford (Voorhees, NJ/Eastern Regional) joined him with 19 points and 10 boards.
The Mountaineers move to 3-1 with their first 100-point game since a 101-85 win at Lesley University on January 15, 2011. The loss brings Sage to 2-2 on the season. SVC now holds a 3-1 lead in the all-time series between the two programs.
Horne got the scoring early, putting down two of his 18 first-half points with a quick layup. The Mountaineers would respond right away as sophomore captain Dolapo Ulugbile (Laurel, Md.) went strongly to the rim, getting the roll while being fouled; he would convert the free throw to put SVC up 5-2. The teams traded buckets as Southern Vermont went up 10-6 on an easy two from White. Sage came right back with a 13-4 run through the next six minutes to take a 19-14 advantage with just under 12 minutes to go in the half. Graduate student Jeff Stopera (Scotia, NY/Scotia Glenville) had five points for Sage during that stretch.
Southern Vermont stayed tight in large part to the down-low effort by Hamlet who, at one point, scored 10-straight for the Mountaineers. The Gators continue to play tough and go to the hoop after breaking the SVC full-court press, using layups and a halftime buzzer-beating 3-ball by Horne to take a 52-46 lead into the break. Both teams were efficient from the floor with Sage shooting at a 54.8 percent clip and Southern Vermont not far behind at 51.4 percent.
That story line would change in the second stanza, however, as the Mountaineer defense would hold Sage to just 31.6 percent shooting from the floor while outscoring the Gators 55-38 for the victory.
Southern Vermont was down by as many at 10 (56-46) in the second before making a 9-0 run capped off by a White jumper at the 11:01 mark to take its first lead since there was 9:07 to play in the first. Hamlet continued to be a dominant force under the hoop, one which Sage seemed hard-pressed to have an answer for. With 3:08 to go and SVC up by five, freshman Brandon Casella (Pittsfield, Mass.) came off the bench and hit a huge 3-pointer, giving the Mountaineers the momentum and energy to close it out. They would go 11-for-15 from the charity stripe in the final three minutes, refusing to give the Gators and opportunity for a comeback while taking the 101-90 victory.
Consistent shooting led SVC to a 54.5 field goal percentage for the game while the second half brought Sage's overall percentage down to 42.0. Southern Vermont was also able to control the ball well, committing only 13 turnovers to the Gators' 17; the Mountaineers capitalized by scoring 19 points off Sage's giveaways.
Freshman center Blair Manners (Auckland, New Zealand) recorded a double-double for the victors with 14 points and a team-high 10 rebounds. White added six boards and three assists to his day while freshman captain Davante Jordan (Great Mills, Md.) had five points, four assists and four steals. Olugbile, who ran into early foul trouble, finished with six points, four rebounds and two blocks.
Each of the Sage starters hit the double-digit plateau for points with Stopera finishing with 11 to match senior Ryan LaBelle (East Berne, NY/Berne Knox Westerlo). Junior Kai Deans (Miami, FL/Monsignor Pace) had 14 for the Gators to go along with five rebounds, and junior Troy Nwanna (Washington, DC/Mercersburg Academy) had nine points and six boards off the bench for Sage.
Horne finished the day with 26 points after hitting 8-of-17 from the floor with two three pointers and made 8-of-his 10 free throws. He added a double-double with 10 rebounds.
Ford connected for a career-best 19 points, bettering his 16 points from his rookie season against Farmingdale State (Feb. 19, 2013).
Sage will return to action on November 26 hosting RPI in the team's home opener at Kahl Gym at 8 p.m.