Hobart wipes out 9-point deficit to top Skidmore 76-71
GENEVA, N.Y.—The Hobart basketball team trailed conference rival Skidmore by nine with 7:40 left in the second half, but ended the game on a 23-9 run to pull out a 76-71 victory in Bristol Gym. First-year forward Richie Bonney paced five Statesmen in double figures with 14 points, as well as game-highs of eight rebounds and three steals.
The win makes Hobart the first Liberty League team to 10 wins this season, improving to 10-3 overall and 2-0 in the conference. It also keeps the Statesmen on the same pace as the 1978-79 Hobart team, the last set of Statesmen cagers to win 10 of its first 13 games. Skidmore slips to 7-5 overall, 1-1 in the league.
Gerard O'Shea's layup with 7:40 to go gave Skidmore a 62-53 lead, the largest lead for either side. Bonney scored the game's next six points to get Hobart within three. Terron Victoria notched a traditional 3-point play to stop the streak and double the Thoroughbreds lead.
The Skidmore lead was seven with under three minutes to go when the Statesmen kicked their decisive charge into high gear. Five straight Hobart points made it a 2-point game entering the final minute. O'Shea hit another layup with 45 seconds to go for a 71-67 advantage. It proved to be the Thoroughbreds final points of the contest.
Sophomore guard Stefan Thompson's traditional 3-point play closed the gap to just one with 41 seconds left. Hobart quickly fouled and Skidmore missed the front end of the one-and-one. Bonney grabbed for the rebound, but was fouled. He sank both of his chances from the charity stripe for a 1-point Hobart lead.
At the other end of the floor, O'Shea was able to slice to the basket, but his layup hung on the rim for a moment before falling outside the cylinder into the waiting hands of Bonney, who handed off to senior guard Tim Llewellyn. He was fouled with nine seconds left and sank both of his freebies.
With a 3-point lead, Hobart fouled to send Skidmore to the line for a one-and-one with 12 seconds left, but O'Shea missed the first and senior guard Mark Bruce was fouled attempting to grab the rebound. His pair of 1-pointers iced the victory with just 3 ticks remaining.
Despite foul trouble that limited him to just 22 minutes, Thompson finished with 13 points and a game-high four assists. Llewellyn, Bruce, and first-year guard Blair Helton each contributed 11 points to the winning effort. Llewellyn matched Bonney's three steals.
Hobart turned in one of its worst free throw shooting performances of the season (.533), but made them when they counted most, knocking down all seven of its chances in the final minute.
The Statesmen trailed 35-32 at halftime, thanks in no small part to nine turnovers to just three for the visitors. Hobart was able to reverse that stat in the second half, finishing the contest even in turnover margin (12-12).
Victoria paced the Thoroughbreds with 15 points, while Brian Lowry was the only other Skidmore player to reach double figures, netting 10 points off the bench.
Hobart will be back in action on Saturday, Jan. 15, when Union visits Bristol Gym. Tipoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. Skidmore will play at the same time, traveling to Hamilton.