BENNINGTON, Vt. – The Southern Vermont College men's basketball team continues to roll through the early portion of its season as it took to a 75-59 non-conference victory over Pine Manor College at the Mountaineer Athletic Center Saturday afternoon.
SVC went into the locker room on top 41-24, and the Gators couldn't get their deficit into single digits the rest of the way as the hosts claimed the win to start the season 5-0.
The Mountaineers are next in action on Tuesday when they head to The Sage Colleges for an 8 p.m. non-conference tip-off. Pine Manor (2-4) takes to the court the same night with a 7:30 p.m. start at the University of Massachusetts Boston.
Southern Vermont senior Mike Pierre (Melrose, N.Y.) reached double figures for the fifth-straight game this season as he poured in a team-leading 17 points; that was his is seventh-straight game with at least 10 points dating back to last year, and he added five rebounds to his line. Junior Josh Borders (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) followed with 12 points, and classmate Andre Hodo (Rockville, Md.) pitched in with seven boards, six points, and four assists. The Mountaineer bench contributed 24 points on the day with sophomore Tyler McLeod (Auburn, N.Y.) notching nine in addition to his five rebounds.
Pine Manor was led by a 23-point, eight-rebound performance from junior Rasheed Bell (Dorchester, Mass.) who was the only Gator to make it into double digits. Sophomore Steven Collins (Lynn, Mass.) had nine points, three rebounds and three steals while senior Louis Savage (Newark, N.J.) added another nine points, seven boards, and four steals in 24 minutes of reserve time.
The Mountaineers shot an even 40 percent (22-55) from the floor while PMC finished with a 31.9 percent (23-72) clip from field goal range. The Gators didn't help themselves from the free throw line as they went just 10-22 (45.5 percent) with the clock stopped while SVC adversely connected on 28-34 (82.4 percent) of its takes from the charity stripe.
Southern Vermont had a narrow 46-45 edge in rebounds, and both teams gave the ball away 25 times; the Mountaineers took advantage of the latter, however, as they outscored Pine Manor 22-15 in points off turnovers.
SVC never trailed during the afternoon as the Mountaineers went on top early and maintained the lead the entire way. After a triple from Southern Vermont senior Daemond Carter (Forestville, Md.) made it 12-4, the Gators scored the next four to cut their deficit in half and stay close.
Scoring went back-and-forth before SVC registered eight unanswered points—six of those coming from the free throw line—to start a 17-2 run with Pierre notching eight on his own. The Mountaineers' biggest lead of the day would come with 4:39 to go in the first as McLeod finished a steal-and-score to make it a 37-15 cushion for the hosts.
After Southern Vermont had a 17-point upper hand at halftime, Pine Manor slowly started to chip away and got itself back in it. An 8-2 PMC burst—highlighted by five-straight Savage points—made it 47-36 in favor of the hosts. Baskets were traded until Collins dropped one from behind the arc to make it just a 10-point game with 11:41 on the clock.
The Gators couldn't get within single digits, however, as SVC started to pad its cushion once again under the 6:00 mark; Pierre knocked down a trey to start an 8-2 Mountaineer spurt which included five-straight successful free throws by the team. Southern Vermont's success from the stripe continued into the final minutes as the visitors were hard-pressed to make a comeback before the final buzzer.
– #LetsGoSVC –