NEW LONDON, Conn. – Southern Vermont College used a strong first half to come away with a 92-78 victory over Mitchell College on Thursday night in New England Collegiate Conference men's basketball action at the Yarnall Athletic Center.
The Mountaineers (12-4 overall, 4-1 NECC), who never trailed in the contest, shot 56 percent in the first half and put up 51 points. Josh Borders led all scorers with a career-high 32 points and shot 6-for-9 from three-point range. Mike Pierre also finished in double figures with 22 points. Both Borders and Pierre handed out six assists apiece.
Domenico Santiago paced the Mariners (8-8 overall, 4-1 NECC) with 27 points on 12-for-16 shooting and added a game-high 13 rebounds. Steffen Brunson chipped in with 17 points while Brayvon Young and Hasani Williams contributed 12 and 10 points, respectively.
Southern Vermont scored seven straight points to open the game, forcing Mitchell to call a timeout less than two minutes in. Claude Payne, Andrew Hodo and Pierre each provided buckets during the stretch as the Mountaineers got off to the hot start.
Later in the half, a pair of free throws by Williams pulled the Mariners within four at 13-9. However, Southern Vermont went on another run, this time putting up eight straight points to stretch the lead to double digits. Payne scored twice during the spurt while Aaron Murray capped things off with a lay-up to make it 21-9 with 12:24 to play in the half.
The Mountaineers took a 51-37 lead into the locker room at intermission. Borders had 18 points at the break and shot 7-for-9 in the half, including 4-for-5 from deep. Brunson led the Mariners with 11 points.
Three-pointers from Pierre and Borders opened the second half and gave Southern Vermont its largest lead of the night at 57-37. Mitchell later answered with a 7-0 run that cut the deficit to 11 at 61-50, but Pierre responded with a jumper to get the visitors back on track.
Southern Vermont pumped the lead back to 19 before the Mariners rallied again. Santiago bookended a 9-0 run with lay-ups as Mitchell cut it to 10 with 7:51 remaining. Pierre had the answer once more, however, draining a three on SVC's next possession to end the threat. The Mountaineers coasted to the finish and never let their lead dip into single digits.
SVC shot just under 52 percent for the game that included an 11-for-22 clip from beyond the arc. Mitchell checked in at 46 percent and went 6-for-15 from downtown.
Mitchell will next play at Lesley University on Saturday, January 20 at 6 p.m. Southern Vermont returns to action at home against Elms College on Saturday at 3 p.m.