Men's basketball escapes Utica with big comeback win
Hamilton College fell behind by 17 points in the first half before the Continentals rallied for a 69-62 non-conference win against Utica College at Utica's Clark Athletic Center on Dec. 1.
Hamilton is 6-0 for the first time since 2005, when the Continentals won their first eight games and finished the season with a record of 23-5. Hamilton travels to SUNY Institute of Technology for another non-conference game on Saturday, Dec. 3.
Pat Sullivan '12 led the Continentals with a game-high 18 points and added seven rebounds. Sullivan, who was named the NESCAC player of the week on Monday, has scored 1,137 points at Hamilton.
Greg Newton '14 chipped in 16 points and five assists. Hans Schulte '13 posted 13 points and six assists. Schulte made all six of his free throws. Eric Benvenuti '13 nailed both of his 3-point attempts and finished with eight points off the bench. The Continentals were credited with 21 assists on 25 made field goals.
Two Pioneers recorded double-doubles as Jeff Ward had 16 points and 11 boards, and Alex Meyer ended up with 12 and 13. Matt Baldwin dropped in 10 points and Reggie German boasted eight rebounds, four assists and four steals. Utica held a 47-39 edge in rebounds.
The Pioneers (3-2) started fast in a game that was televised locally on Time Warner Cable Sports. Trailing 6-5 early, Utica went on a 7-0 mini-run for a 12-6 lead five minutes in. A 3-pointer by Baldwin was followed by layups for Aaron Nevins and Ward.
The Pioneers still led by seven with eight minutes left in the half. A 11-1 spurt gave Utica its largest lead at 34-17 with 3:39 remaining. Walkery Mills capped the run with a 3-point play. Hamilton closed the half with 11 straight points, including a trifecta by Benvenuti, to pull the Continentals within 34-28 at the break. The Pioneers were just 7-for-17 at the line in the first half.
A Newton jumper on Hamilton's first possession of the second half made it a four-point game, and a basket by Sullivan two minutes later tied the score at 36. During the next 11 minutes, the teams accounted for four more ties and seven lead changes.
Sullivan pushed the Continentals into the lead for good at 50-48 on a layup with about six minutes to go. Joseph Lin '15 followed with a 3-pointer and Click made a jump hook in the lane for a 55-48 lead with 4:18 remaining. Utica didn't get closer than four points the rest of the night. Hamilton went 8-for-8 at the line in the final 45 seconds to seal the impressive come-from-behind victory.
Sullivan scored 13 points in the final 20 minutes to rally the Continentals. The Pioneers went ice cold from the field in the second half. Utica shot 27 .8 percent from the floor, including 0 of 10 from beyond the arc. Hamilton, which leads the NESCAC in free-throw percentage, shot 77.8 percent at the charity stripe. The Continentals lead the all-time series 75-27.