BENNINGTON, Vt. – Two late plays by the Southern Vermont College men's basketball team extended the game to double-overtime, but it was in the second extra period that visiting Lesley University was able to take and keep a lead for the 77-67 win in New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) action at the Mountaineer Athletic Center on Tuesday night.
Southern Vermont came out to an early 7-2 lead with all Mountaineer points coming from sophomore Tarvaris Jenkins (Chicago, Ill.). Lesley battled back to take its first lead following senior guard Matt Gibson's (Quincy, Mass.) three-pointer, making it 10-9.
The teams swapped baskets and the lead until Mountaineer captain Taeshon Johnson (Charlotte, N.C.) went up for a big dunk to boost the SVC momentum. Sophomore captain Travis Severs (Bennington, Vt.) then made the next four Southern Vermont hoops during a 10-2 run to put the Mountaineers up nine.
LU proved it was not afraid to take the long-range shot as four Lynx each hit one deep to regain the lead, 30-29. Johnson responded with a drive to the hoop, and freshman guard CJ Hagler (Chicago, Ill.) knocked down a 3-pointer to give SVC a 34-30 lead going into the locker room.
The game continued to be closely contested throughout the second half as the Lynx started with baskets from Gibson and freshman guard Anthony Mattocks (Sarasota, Fla.) to go up two. Johnson did not shy away from the paint, making a layup before Gibson and Mattocks each hit one from long range to go up 45-38.
Johnson attempted to close the gap by scoring 10 of the Mountaineers' final 15 points, including two free throws with just over a minute left to bring SVC to within one at 58-57. With Lesley in the 1-and-1 bonus, the Lynx went to the line after sophomore guard Justin Rosa (East Brunswick, N.J.) was fouled by Johnson.
A Rosa miss allowed Southern Vermont to call a timeout and set up a play with 15 seconds remaining. Jenkins attempted to give the Mountaineers the go-ahead bucket with a drive to the top of the key, however missed the shot with seconds left. SVC freshman Tyler Hess (Southwick, Mass.) came up with the rebound and was immediately fouled to go to the line for two shots with just a couple ticks left on the clock. The pressure mounted after he missed the front-end of the double bonus, however he was able to regain composure after Lesley took a full timeout. Hess came out and converted the second shot to make the game 58-58, and the Lynx were unable to make the long shot as time expired.
The first extra period began with Lesley missing two 3-pointers before Severs came up and hit one from deep. Lynx junior forward Kris Bennett (Inglewood, Calif.) grabbed an offensive rebound on the ensuing possession and slammed it home to quiet the Mountaineer crowd. Johnson then converted two more free throws before Gibson knocked down another three to tie it back up.
After a Gibson layup resulting off a Johnson turnover, the Mountaineers brought the ball down with just over 30 seconds to play. Hagler missed a jumper and the ball found its way off a Lesley defender and out of bounds as the horn sounded. The referees huddled up and determined there would be one second put back on the clock, and Southern Vermont was able to use a timeout to set up a play. Jenkins inbounded the ball from under the hoop to an elevating Johnson who stroked it home as the buzzer rang.
Gibson continued to hit big shots in the second overtime as he drilled a three just seconds after Lesley won the tip-off. He made another from downtown and then two from the line to put LU up 73-67. Mountaineer foul trouble caused them to struggle to find baskets the remainder of the way after Johnson and Jenkins picked up their fifth personals, and Lesley walked out with the 77-67 win.
Johnson led all players with 26 points while Gibson led the Lynx with 23. Severs finished with 15 and Jenkins had a double-double on the night with 12 points and 12 rebounds.
Rosa had 19 for Lesley while freshman forward Niklaus Oliver (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) led the team with 11 boards; Bennett added 10 rebounds in the win.
Both teams continue NECC play on Thursday as the Mountaineers (0-14 overall, 0-6 NECC) travel to Wheelock College for a 6 p.m. game, and Lesley (4-10 overall, 2-3 NECC) tips-off against Mitchell College on the road.