NEW LONDON, Conn. – The Mitchell College men's basketball team held on for an 84-79 overtime victory over Lesley University on Tuesday night in a New England Collegiate Conference match-up at the Yarnall Athletic Center.
Senior Joshua Ford (Jersey City, N.J./Saint Anthony) led all scorers with 26 points and pulled down 11 rebounds to register his 16th double-double of the season for the Mariners (13-4 overall, 9-1 NECC). Classmate Anthony Epps (Norwalk, Conn./Brien McMahon) chipped in with 18 points and shot 4-for-8 from three-point range while sophomore Frank Martin (Port St. Lucie, Fla./Port St. Lucie) added 14 points.
A trio of freshman anchored the Lynx attack as Branden Padgett (New Baltimore, Mich./Anchor Bay) led Lesley (2-14 overall, 0-7 NECC) with a career-high 17 points on 7-for-7 shooting in 15 minutes off the bench. Jacob DiDomenico (North Providence, R.I./North Providence) posted career-highs of 16 points and 13 rebounds to record his first career double-double, and Trevonn Lewis (Chicago, Ill./Lincoln-Way North) added 15 points and five assists.
A dunk by junior Parris Hill (Stockton, Calif./Brookside Christian) put Mitchell ahead 60-51 with 8:32 remaining in regulation, but Padgett nearly erased the deficit by himself over the next three minutes. He netted nine straight points for the Lynx to whittle the margin to 61-60, and Mike Kaufman (Boca Raton, Fla./American Heritage) later banged home a three to give Lesley its first lead of the half with 4:38 to go.
The Mariners pulled back in front and looked to be in the driver's seat in the closing minute, leading by four with 22 seconds remaining. But a free throw by Lewis cut the lead to three, and a missed front end of a one-and-one gave the Lynx the ball back in the final seconds. Padgett raced up the left side of the court and pulled up for the game-tying three from the wing with two seconds remaining.
Mitchell figured to have one final crack at the win in regulation, but Justin Rosa (East Brunswick, N.J./Marist High) stole the inbounds pass and missed a three-pointer that would have won the game. Instead, both teams settled in for the five-minute overtime period tied at 69-69.
Lesley struck first in extra time, getting lay-ups by DiDomenico and Padgett to take a four-point advantage. The Mariners went without a basket for the first two minutes of extra time, but senior Alex Del Rio (New Britain, Conn./Plainville) finally put an end to the drought with a deep three to cut the deficit to one.
After Mitchell took a 76-75 lead on a free throw by Ford, Martin made the defensive play of the game by coming up with a steal near the midcourt line and going in for lay-up with 29 ticks left on the clock. The Mariners then sealed the game from the free throw line by going 6-for-6 in the final 24 seconds.
Lesley shot 49 percent from the floor and held a 37-31 advantage on the glass. Mitchell shot just 44 percent but outscored the Lynx 22-12 at the charity stripe.
Mitchell returns to action at Daniel Webster College on Thursday, January 30 at 7 p.m. Lesley will next host Elms College on Thursday at 8 p.m. at Buckingham, Browne, and Nichols.