BENNINGTON, Vt. — A 21-2 run in the latter portion of the first half paved the way for Southern Vermont College to down Wheelock College 102-61 Saturday afternoon in New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) men's basketball action at the Mountaineer Athletic Center.
The game was hard-fought in the first 10 minutes, a pair of Wheelock three-pointers tying it at 22-22. That's when SVC went on a strong surge, however, to pull away and never look back. SVC led 58-29 going into halftime, and the Mountaineers extended their upper hand through the final stanza to walk out with their fourth straight win and 11th victory in their last 12 games.
SVC improves to 12-3 on the year and 6-0 in league play while Wheelock falls to 3-10 overall, 1-4 against the NECC. The Mountaineers return to action on Tuesday when they head to Becker College for a 7 p.m. NECC tip while Wheelock is off until Thursday, resuming play with an 8:30 p.m. start at home against Mitchell College.
Southern Vermont saw strong performances from its upperclassmen, senior Casey Hall (Albany, N.Y.) leading the way with a career-best 27 points while adding eight rebounds and a pair of assists to his line. Classmate William Bromirski (Cambridge, N.Y.) was electric from the outside, adding 24 points on an 8-11 performance from beyond the arc; his 8-12 clip from field goal range ties his all-time high for most baskets from the floor in a single game while surpassing his previous career-best of six made three-pointers in a contest. Bromirski has now registered the third-most three-pointers in SVC history, totaling 109 in just 44 games played in a Mountaineer uniform.
SVC senior DeShawn Hamlet (Hartford, Conn.) played a well-rounded game, nearing a triple-double while helping facilitate Hall in the post; he had 12 points, a career-high nine assists, and seven rebounds in the victory. Five of Hamlet's helpers went for Hall buckets while another two set up Bromirski for a downtown score. Junior Nate Goldsmith (Capitol Heights, Md.) notched 12 points and seven boards off the Mountaineer bench, and senior Jeff James (Bowie, Md.) added eight points, eight assists and four rebounds.
Wheelock was led by junior Anthony Williams (White Plains, N.Y.) who had 13 points and a team-best six rebounds while freshman Devin Brown (Chicago, Ill.) followed with eight points off the Wildcat bench. Freshman Dejuan Rodriguez (New Britain, Conn.) had another eight points in reserve time while senior Joe Reedy (Orlando, Fla.) recorded six points, three rebounds and two assists. Junior Nicholas Fenton (East Hartford, Conn.) notched a team-best five assists to go along with his five points and three steals, and junior Matthew Eason (East Hartford, Conn.) tallied another six points and two rebounds.
The Mountaineers went 42-73 (57.5 percent) from the floor on Saturday as Wheelock was 23-59 (39.7 percent) on field goals. SVC connected on 11 three-pointers to WC's four and took a 39-34 edge in rebounds. Points off turnovers favored Southern Vermont by a 36-13 margin, and SVC ran the floor to outscore WC 20-2 on fast-break points.
Play was tightly contested after the opening tip, Wheelock coming back from a 4-0 deficit to take a 7-6 lead with help from a three by junior Derek Fournier (Johnston, R.I.). SVC freshman Josh Borders (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) spotted up and drained a triple of his own, being followed by Bromirski's first score from the perimeter to propel the Mountaineers to a 12-7 upper hand. WC went on a 6-2 spurt with a pair of baskets by Fenton, and scoring was then traded until a Goldsmith layup made it 22-16. Brown drilled a trey before Eason notched another on the Wildcats' next trip down the floor, tying things at 22-22 with 10:31 to go in the period.
Southern Vermont took over from there, a line change seeing the Mountaineer starters come back to grab a commanding lead. Hamlet tallied a pair of scores in the post before Hall found Bromirski for a three-pointer. Solid SVC ball movement allowed Hamlet to find Hall another pair of times, the second leading to a slam from the senior after Bromirski hit on a shot from deep. Bromirski's hot hand continued to click, his fourth triple preceding another Hall dunk as Southern Vermont went ahead 43-24. Hall would down another five straight points just minutes later, and a Goldsmith jumper before the halftime buzzer sent SVC into the break ahead 58-29.
The Mountaineers padded their lead in the final 20 minutes, scoring the first eight points of the second half with threes coming off the hands of both Hall and Bromirski. Wheelock tallied six unanswered to make it 74-43, but another pair of Bromirski buckets from three-point distance pushed it up to an 89-54 SVC advantage. Southern Vermont continued to connect on its offensive possessions, a pair of free throws by junior Rayshawn Taylor (Silver Spring, Md.) putting the Mountaineers into triple digits for the fifth time this year while winning their third straight meeting against the Wildcats. Southern Vermont is now averaging 92 points per game in its league contests (84.7 total), leading the NECC by over eight points per game.