HAMILTON ADVANCES TO "SWEET 16"
Someone forgot to tell the Continentals.
Hamilton got double-double performances from two likely sources and one not-so-likely player, and pulled away late in the second half to upset second-seeded St. John Fisher College 87-72 at Fisher on Saturday night.
Juniors Michael Schantz and Jon Schmiegel were their ordinary dominating selves, combining for 43 points and 27 rebounds. But the spark on Saturday came from back-up point guard Lamar Johnson, who despite being 5-9, played head and shoulders above the rest.
The junior lit up the nets for a season-high 19 points on 50% shooting, and grabbed a career-high 10 rebounds in 23 minutes. Johnson hit on eight of 11 free throws, and put an exclamation point on the evening with a driving left handed lay-up over the outstretched arm of a Fisher defender as time expired in the second half.
Hamilton led 40-37 at the half, and went on a 10-0 run to take a 13-point lead on a Schantz lay-up with three minutes gone by. But Fisher came right back, and actually took the lead at 67-65 on three consecutive baskets by Chris Fredricks. But the Continentals hung tough, and went a 16-3 run by virtue of 10 free throws to put the game away.
"It was gut check time to see who wanted it most," Hamilton head coach Tom Murphy said after the game. "Lamar Johnson gave us a good lift in the second half, and our inside guys (Schantz and Schmiegel) did a good job."
The win advances Hamilton to the "Sweet 16" against NESCAC rival Williams, Friday March 13th at 6 p.m. at St. Lawrence University. Hamilton downed the Ephmen 104-93 at Hamilton on February 28th. Connecticut College and St. Lawrence play in the other game at 8 p.m. The winners will meet on Saturday, March 14th at 7:30 p.m. for the right to go to the Final Four.