For the second year in a row, the Hamilton College Continentals are one of the last 16 teams standing in the NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Championship.
Nationally ranked No. 10 Hamilton (25-4 overall) accomplished the feat by defeating Moravian College 83-72 in a 2019 championship second round game in front of another raucous sellout crowd at the Continentals' Margaret Bundy Scott Field House on Saturday night. Hamilton needs one more victory to tie the program record of 26 set in 1990-91. The Continentals have a 49-9 record the last two seasons.
Hamilton will get a crack at that 26th victory on Friday, March 8 when the Continentals play No. 9 Christopher Newport University at a site and time to be determined. Christopher Newport defeated Albertus Magnus College and Alfred University in NCAA play at home this weekend.
Peter Hoffmann '19 led Hamilton with 19 points and three blocked shots. Hoffmann is in ninth place on the program's all-time list with 1,469 points.
Kena Gilmour '20 chipped in 16 points and five assists, and Tim Doyle '19 made all six of his free-throw attempts and also finished with 16 points for the Continentals. Michael Grassey '19 scored eight points and grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds, and Sayo Denloye '20 added eight points and four assists off the bench. Andrew Groll '19 enjoyed a fine all-around game with eight boards, three assists and three steals.
Hamilton outscored the Greyhounds 36-22 in the paint, scored 19 points off 17 Moravian turnovers, and limited the Greyhounds to 35.6 percent shooting from the field. The Continentals also made more free throws (16) than Moravian attempted (9).
Oneil Holder paced the Greyhounds with 22 points and two steals. Jimmy Murray dropped in 14 points and C.J. Barnes drained four 3-pointers and finished with 14 points. Elijah Davis contributed eight points and nine rebounds, and Will Brazukas handed out nine assists.
Moravian (20-9) jumped out to a 15-9 lead five minutes into the first half and still was up 18-14 after a Barnes trifecta with 13:31 left. Hamilton's defense took over at that point and the Continentals took the lead for good with an 11-0 run.
Denloye started the spurt with a 3-pointer after Spencer Kendall '21 kept the possession alive with an offensive rebound. Gilmour found Hoffmann for a layup and a 19-18 edge with 12:53 remaining. Mark Lutz '20 swished a 3-pointer with 11:50 to go and Doyle put Hamilton up 25-18 with another basket from beyond the arc with 9:42 left.
The Continentals had extended their lead to eight at 29-21 when they finally gave up another field goal. Davis' 3-pointer with 5:36 remaining was the Greyhounds' first bucket in nearly eight minutes.
Hamilton took its first double-digit lead at 34-24 with 4:52 to go when Lutz drained a 3-pointer. A layup by Grassey with just under a minute to go gave the Continentals their largest lead of the half at 42-30, and Hamilton took that 12-point cushion into the locker room. Moravian shot just 28.6 percent (10-35) from the floor during the opening 20 minutes.
The Greyhounds made several runs at the Continentals but never quite got over the hump in the second half. A 3-pointer by Barnes pulled Moravian within five at 59-54 with 9:34 left but that's as close as the Greyhounds could get. A Hoffmann free throw gave Hamilton its largest lead of the night of 14 points at 77-63 with 3:03 remaining. Hoffmann, Doyle and Gilmour combined to score 28 points in the second half.
Both teams shot well from beyond the arc as the Continentals made 9 of 22 shots (40.9 percent) from long range, and Moravian was 12 of 30 (40 percent) from downtown. Hamilton pulled out a 98-94 victory over the Greyhounds at their tournament in late December last season.