Strong Second Half Surge Powers Newbury to Overtime Victory, 77-74

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BROOKLINE, Mass. – The Newbury College men's basketball team handing Southern Vermont College their third straight loss with a 77-74 overtime victory in New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) action, Saturday afternoon. Junior guard Mills Carrasco(Haverhill, Mass.) registered 18 of his career single-game high 25 points as the Nighthawks outscored the Mountaineers, 40-31, in the second period.

It was a back-and-forth battle for the majority of the first half. Junior forward Daniel Thelemaque (Somerville, Mass.) gave the Nighthawks a 6-3 lead knocking down a lay-up prior to adding a pair of free-throws nearly four minutes into the contest. However, the Mountaineers responded on their next position and set the tone for the game. Sophomore forward DeShawn Hamlet (Hartford, Conn.) sparked a 10-0 run draining a trey to take a 13-6 lead.

Newbury refused to quit and chipped away at the deficit. Thelemaque connected with Carrasco at the perimeter to cap off a six-minute 11-2 and take a 17-15 lead but the lead did not last for very long as Hamlet put the Mountaineers back on top, 19-17, with put-back off a missed three-point attempt from sophomore Ervin Cook (Bethesda, Md.).

In a half that featured, four lead changes and two ties, the Nighthawks jumped back on top once again on Carrasco second treys in as many attempts but it was short-lived. With less than five minutes remaining in the period, first year guard Rayshawn Taylor (Silver Spring, Md.) ignited a 12-1 Mountaineer run, draining a trey at 4:37 to take a nine-point, 32-23 lead into the locker room. 

The Nighthawks returned to the hard-court at the start of the second half with a renewed sense of energy. After Hamlet gave the Southern Vermont their largest lead of the game, 35-23, draining his second trey of the game, Thelemaque answered with a three-pointer of his own to cut the deficit back down to nine.

But momentum still appeared to be favoring the Mountaineers as the Nighthawks did not lead once during the entire second period. Five minutes into the period, Hamlet picked the pocket of Watson and took it back down court for the fast-break lay-up and put Southern Vermont back up by double figures, 42-31.

Midway through the half, after first year guard Jordan Alston (Hughesville, Md.) put the Mountaineers back on top by 11 for the fourth time in three minutes; sophomore guard Earl Hassell (New Haven, Conn.) answered. The Connecticut native drained a trey to cut the deficit back down to single digits sparked a momentum shift as the Nighthawks clawed their way back.

With three minutes remaining on the clock, Carrasco swung the momentum over to the Newbury bench, draining his sixth three-pointer to make it a two possession game. Moments later, following a missed three-point attempt by Watson, the North Shore native found his way in the low-post to corral the offensive board before laying it back in for the put-back as well as drawing the foul in the process. Carrasco converted on the three-point play to bring the Nighthawks back to within one of the lead, 59-58.

Southern Vermont sophomore guard Antoine White (Germantown, Md.) knocked down a pair of free throws to increase the Mountaineer lead to three, 61-58 but the Nighthawks had all the answers. Watson knotted up the game at 61-61 with a trey with 1:29 remaining on the clock. Moments later, White was able to push the lead back to two with a lay-up but Hassell and Watson went to charity stripe twice in the remaining seconds to send the game into overtime all square at 63-63.

The Mountaineers wasted no time at the start of the five minute overtime period. White found Hamlet open at the perimeter to give Southern Vermont a 66-63 advantage, 28 seconds into overtime. But the Nighthawks were not going to be denied their chance of evening up the season series.

Finding themselves trailing by two, 67-65, Watson knocked down a pair of free throws to knot up the score, for the fifth time all game, at 67, before picked the pocket of sophomore forwardDolapo Olugibile (Laurel, Md.) and converting the fast-break lay-up. Moments later, junior forward David Hart (Keene, N.H.) extended Newbury's lead to four, 71-67, with a lay-up in the paint before fellow junior, center Cameron Owen (Concord, N.H.) sealed the deal connecting on wide open trey, from Watson, to give the Nighthawks the 74-70 advantage.

The Nighthawks did not look back. Owen and Carrasco combined to go three-for-four from the charity stripe in the remaining 20 seconds to cruise to the 77-74 victory.

Newbury improves to 2-8 in conference and 2-17 overall while Southern Vermont falls to 12-8 and 6-5 in NECC action. The Nighthawks look to continue their winning ways when they hit the road Tuesday February 4th looking to split the season series with Becker College at 8:00 p.m. in Leicester, Mass. The Mountaineers will also be in action Tuesday evening when they host Lesley University at 8:00 p.m. in Bennington, Vt.

Game Notes: 
Junior guard Mills Carrasco (Haverhill, Mass.) tied his career single-game high netting six-of-13 from beyond the arc…The last time he netted six three-pointers came as a freshman against Lesley University at home on December 6, 2011.