Huge Second Half Leads Men’s Hoops to 93-78 Win Over Newbury

Yonas Million dribbles the ball up the court for SVC

BENNINGTON, Vt. – After trailing by eight at halftime, Southern Vermont College outscored Newbury College by 23 points in the final 20 minutes Thursday night to take a 93-78 New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) men's basketball win at the Mountaineer Athletic Center.

The visiting Nighthawks were up 44-36 at the break, but SVC turned things around while shooting 62.5 percent from the floor in the second stanza to come back and win its eighth-straight game.

The Mountaineers are now above .500 for the first time this year with their winning streak, moving to 10-9 overall and 8-2 in league action. Newbury falls to 1-17 overall and 1-10 against the NECC. With the victory, Southern Vermont ties the all-time series with the Nighthawks at 10-10— now having taken its last six matchups against NC.

SVC has won its last four-straight home games this year and 23 of its last 24 regular season Conference contests at the MAC.

The Mountaineers are off until Saturday when they welcome Mitchell College to the SVC campus for a 3 p.m. league tip-off. Newbury is also back in action on Saturday, hosting Regis College for a 3 p.m. NECC tilt at Hellenic College.

Four Southern Vermont players made their way into double figures— being led by junior Mike Pierre (Melrose, N.Y.) who topped his previous season-high by six points to finish with a game-leading 25; he also had five rebounds and a season-best six steals in the win. Senior Nate Goldsmith (Capitol Heights, Md.) followed with 20 points while tying the game-high of eight rebounds, and he added four assists to his line.

Fellow SVC senior Rayshawn Taylor (Silver Spring, Md.) knocked home 12 points and grabbed seven boards, and Mountaineer sophomore Kyle Depollar (Rockville, Md.) tallied 10 points in 18 minutes off the bench. Junior Claude Payne (South Plainfield, N.J.) recorded seven points and eight rebounds for the hosts.

Newbury was paced by junior Jeduan Langston (Roxbury, Mass.) who scored 19 points while also registering seven rebounds and a pair of steals, and classmate Daivon Edwards (Roxbury, Mass.) was right behind with 16 points and four boards. Fellow junior Ato Botsio (Canton, Mass.) notched 13 points and four rebounds in 22 minutes of reserve time while senior Devin Johnson (Manchester, Conn.) finished with 10 points and a team-high eight boards off the Nighthawk bench.

Southern Vermont went 34-for-68 (50 percent) from the floor during the night as NC tallied a 46 percent (29-63) clip on field goal attempts. SVC snagged a slim 36-34 advantage on the glass while outscoring the Nighthawks 23-14 in points off turnovers. The Mountaineers ran the floor well, putting up 12 fast-break points to NC's four. Shooting from outside of the perimeter didn't bode well for either squad as the two teams went a combined 7-for-40 (17.5 percent) from three-point range.

Langston picked off an SVC pass and took it the distance to slam a fast-break dunk for the opening points of the game, but Goldsmith would then tally back-to-back buckets to put his team ahead 6-5 in the early going. The two sides traded scores before Southern Vermont senior Ervin Cook (Germantown, Md.) drilled a three from the right corner to make it a 17-13 advantage for the hosts. NC quickly erased its deficit and took the upper hand, using an athletic cut through the lane by Langston to score eight unanswered points.

Langston would knock a jumper off the glass to put his team in front 29-23 with 5:10 to go in the first half, but Goldsmith made a similar play at the other end before he got a layup to go for a 31-28 Nighthawk edge. After a Johnson layup put Newbury up by five, Pierre's running of the floor turned into four quick SVC points on consecutive possessions; he first grabbed a defensive board and knocked down a fast-break, pull-up jumper, and the junior then poked away a Nighthawk pass before sprinting to the hoop and forcing an NC timeout.

Newbury extended its lead to eight through the final 2:16 of the frame with four Nighthawks contributing to the spurt. Johnson and senior Ceejae Carter (Dorchester, Mass.) dropped in back-to-back layups, and senior Kayvon Murray (Ossining, N.Y.) hit the visitors' first triple of the evening from the left corner as time expired for NC to go into the locker room in front 44-36.

After Murray banked home the opening possession of the second half, Southern Vermont cut its deficit to three with seven unanswered points. Payne would soon-after leap up to grab an offensive board and put it back while drawing the foul— completing the and-one play to made it a 48-46 Nighthawk lead. SVC continued to carry the momentum as the Mountaineers went on a 13-2 run to regain the upper hand; Pierre took a defensive carom and tallied another transition layup to put his team on top 52-51, and Taylor then took a dish from classmate Davante Jordan (Great Mills, Md.) at the top of arc before dropping in a trey.

Langston would pull up and put down a three of his own from the left edge to get NC within five, and Johnson then used a pump fake to open up an elbow jumper before he hit a pair of free throws to make it a 61-58 Mountaineer advantage. Southern Vermont would gain some separation, however, going on an 11-4 run with the help of five Depollar points.

SVC freshman Damon Daniel (Gaithersburg, Md.) was selfless with the ball late in the game when he took a pass underneath the hoop, drew a few Nighthawk defenders and dished it off to an open Goldsmith for an easy layup which put the Mountaineers up 74-64. Depollar and Goldsmith ran a great give-and-go on the left side for a 12-point cushion with 4:17 left to go, and eight-straight Southern Vermont points in the final minutes would put it out of reach for Newbury.

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