NEW LONDON, Conn. – The Mitchell College men's basketball team scored the final 10 points of overtime to come away with a 79-71 victory over Becker College on Tuesday night at the Yarnall Athletic Center.
Junior Alex Del Rio (New Britain, Conn.) scored eight of his 10 points in the extra frame to give the Mariners (9-9, 5-5 NECC) their first conference victory over the Hawks since the New England Collegiate Conference formed in 2008-09. Junior Joshua Ford (Jersey City, N.J.) led all scorers with 24 points and added 10 rebounds, five assists, two blocks and two steals.
Tyler Roberson (Irvington, N.J.) and Yahmad Rountree (Waterbury, conn.) each netted 19 points to lead Becker (10-9 overall, 6-4 NECC). Roberson shot 4-for-7 from long range and also finished with three assists and three steals. Rountree notched a double-double with 10 rebounds, including five on the offensive glass.
Neither team led by more than five points in the first half. The lead changed hands eight times over the opening 20 minutes, but it was a three-pointer by Roberson that gave the Hawks a 34-31 lead heading into intermission. Roberson had 11 points on 4-for-4 shooting in the first half while Mitchell was paced by 13 points from Ford.
Mitchell opened the second half behind a jumper by junior Anthony Epps (Norwalk, Conn.) and a three by Ford to snatch the lead. Later, the Mariners used a 15-6 run to extend the margin to 12 with 8:49 remaining in regulation, with sophomore Trace Lanson (Melbourne, Fla.) providing a pair of threes during the stretch.
Becker wasted little time clawing its way back into the game. The Hawks scored 11 of the next 13 points to whittle the deficit down to three following a jumper by Rountree with 5:29 to go, his third bucket of the spurt. However, Becker didn't pull even until a jumper by Rashaun Liggon (Elizabeth, N.J.) tied the score at 65-65 with 2:11 to play.
After Mitchell went back ahead by two on a jumper by sophomore Alex Pires (Valhalla, N.Y.), Becker crashed the glass for three consecutive offensive rebounds but came away without a score. On their next possession, however, the Hawks went to Rountree in the paint for the tying bucket, and Mitchell held for the final possession of regulation. The Mariners dribbled out the final seconds before going to Ford for a contested three at the buzzer that rimmed out.
Neither side could miss to start the overtime. Roberson scored the first basket of the extra frame to put Becker back in front, but freshman Devonta Mosley (Gainesville, Fla.) answered with a baseline jumper to even it up once more. Darius Sealy (Cambridge, Mass.) followed with a jumper to give the Hawks what would be their last lead—and points—of the game, and then Del Rio took over for the Mariners.
After scoring only two points in regulation, Del Rio buried a long three to give Mitchell a 72-71 lead with 3:47 to go. On the Mariners' next possession, he knifed through the lane and dropped in a lay-up and was fouled. He made the ensuing free throw—and later two more with 1:01 on the clock—to give Mitchell all the momentum.
Mitchell shot 52 percent for the game and committed only 11 turnovers. Epps finished with 16 points on 8-for-11 shooting and contributed three assists and three blocks. Mosley netted nine of his 12 points in the second half, and Lanson added nine points from beyond the arc.
Becker shot 45 percent from the floor and held a 39-29 advantage on the boards. Liggon joined Roberson and Rountree in double figures with 14 points and added seven rebounds and three blocks.
Mitchell begins a five-game road stretch at Lesley University on Thursday, January 31 at 8:00 p.m. Becker returns to action at home against Elms College on Thursday at 7:00 p.m.