NEW LONDON, Conn. – Mitchell College held off a late charge by Southern Vermont College to post a 73-65 victory on Thursday night in a New England Collegiate Conference men's basketball match-up at the Yarnall Athletic Center.
The Mariners led by as many as 21 points with 12 minutes to go, but the Mountaineers rallied back to cut the margin to six by the three-minute mark. After the visitors had three chances to pull closer, Landon Peabody drained a three with a minute left to seal Mitchell's first win in the series since 2013.
Peabody finished with a season-high 15 points off the bench to lead five Mariners in double figures. Domenico Santiago added a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds while Hasani Williams chipped in with 13 points and eight boards. Matt Finke and Steffen Brunson contributed 10 points apiece as Mitchell improved to 9-6 overall (4-3 NECC).
Andre Hodo and Donnell Frayer Jr. each netted 17 points to pace the Mountaineers, who dropped to 11-5 overall (5-3 NECC). Hodo also finished with eight rebounds, four steals and two assists on the night. Damon Daniel tacked on 13 points while Aaron Murray grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds.
Mitchell led 16-14 after 10 minutes of play but pulled away over the next five minutes, scoring 17 unanswered points to go on top 33-14 following a jumper by Peabody with 4:29 left in the half. Peabody scored 10 of his 12 first-half points during the stretch, and the Mariners took a 37-20 lead into the locker room at the break.
Mitchell's lead hovered around 20 points in the early stages of the second half. That all changed when the Mountaineers started hitting from deep and stepping up the pressure on defense. The visitors cut the lead to single digits on a pair of free throws by Frayer with 6:05 remaining, capping a 21-9 spurt that included four three-pointers.
Southern Vermont pulled within six at 71-65 with 2:56 to go on a lay-up by Frayer. The Mountaineers then buckled down on defense to get stops on Mitchell's next two possessions, but neither time yielded points on the other end. Santiago drew a charge with 1:15 left to give the Mariners the ball back with the six-point lead intact.
On the ensuing Mitchell possession, Brunson found Peabody on the left wing for an open look from three. His shot hit off the front rim and kissed the glass before dropping through to put the Mariners up nine.
The Mountaineers had a chance to cut the deficit to three in the closing seconds but came up empty on the offensive end. Finke then drained a pair of free throws to cement the Mitchell victory.
Mitchell will next play at Dean College on Saturday, January 19 at 2 p.m. Southern Vermont returns to action at Eastern Nazarene College on Tuesday, January 22 at 7:30 p.m.