LEICESTER, Mass. — The Southern Vermont College men's basketball team took home its first-ever New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) Regular Season Championship Wednesday night, defeating Becker College 72-55 at Leicester Gymnasium.
The win improves SVC's league record to 13-0 (19-3 overall), securing the No. 1 seed for the Mountaineers in the Conference postseason tournament. Southern Vermont will host the NECC Semifinals and Championship on February 27 and 28 with the remaining seeds still to be determined.
SVC's win is also the first for the Mountaineers on Becker's home court, concluding the season sweep of the Hawks after beating them for the first time in program history (13 meetings) by a 73-58 margin on January 20. BC drops to 6-6 in league play and 11-10 on the season with the loss.
Senior captain Dolapo Olugbile (Laurel, Maryland) led five Southern Vermont players in double digits with 16 points, adding three rebounds and a pair of steals in the effort. Junior DeShawn Hamlet (Albany, New York) followed with 15 points to go with a team-best eight rebounds while classmate Casey Hall (Albany, New York) added 11 points, six boards and five blocked shots.
Fellow junior William Bromirski (Cambridge, New York) chipped in with another 11 points while going 3-6 from three-point range, and junior captain Antoine White (Bethesda, Maryland) notched 10 points, six rebounds and four assists in the win.
Hawk junior Scott Dulaire (Bloomfield, Connecticut) scored a game-high 20 points while adding 12 rebounds for the double-double, and classmate Jessy Michaud (Fort Lauderdale, Florida) added 10 points, four rebounds, and a game-best five assists. Senior David Maturah (Windsor Locks, Connecticut) provided 11 points while junior Rashaun Liggon (Elizabeth, New Jersey) came off the bench to grab seven rebounds.
The Mountaineers shot a season-best 52.8 percent from the floor, going 28-53 from field goal range. Becker was limited to just a 33.9 field goal percentage (20-59) while the teams each grabbed 37 rebounds on the night. SVC held a slight 34-26 edge on points in the paint and a 16-11 advantage on points off turnovers.
Becker got on the scoreboard first with a basket from downtown, but the Mountaineer responded with one of their own; that sparked an 11-0 run, giving the visitors a lead they would not relinquish the rest of the way. Hamlet and Olugbile each accounted for four points in that stretch to give SVC a comfortable cushion. Southern Vermont eventually opened its separation to 12 points before going into the locker room with a strong 37-26 advantage.
The opening 10 minutes of the second half saw Becker inch its way back into the game, cutting the deficit to five (48-43) at the 11:10 mark on a pair of Michaud free throws. But the Mountaineers would soon-after increase its lead back to double digits on the hot shooting of Bromirski who hit all three of his treys between 9:18 and 5:55 to put his team on top 63-50. Olugbile capped the SVC surge with another three-pointer, paving the way for the Mountaineers to take the 72-55 win and stay perfect in NECC action.
The Mountaineers are back in action on Saturday when they hold Senior Day in conjunction with a 3 p.m. home game against Wheelock College. Becker also hosts Wheelock for its next game, welcoming the Wildcats to the Leicester Gym on Monday for a 1 p.m. conference contest.