Continentals edged in final minute at Connecticut Coll.
The Connecticut College Camels scored five straight points in the final 30 seconds and rallied for a 79-75 NESCAC win against the Hamilton College Continentals at Connecticut College's Charles B. Luce Field House on Friday night.
The game was the conference opener for both teams in a nailbiter that featured nine ties and seven lead changes, including four in the last two minutes. Hamilton shot 53.8 percent from the floor and the Camels shot 50.8 percent as both squads scorched the nets.
Connecticut Coll. (8-3, 1-0 NESCAC) trailed 75-74 until the Camels' Isaiah Robinson nailed a jumper with 26 seconds left. The Continentals missed two shots on their next possession and were forced to foul Tyler Rowe after he grabbed the second miss. Rowe made both free throws with five seconds remaining for a 78-75 advantage.
Hamilton (7-5, 0-1) had one last chance to tie the score but turned the ball over on a steal by Colin Pascoe and Zuri Pavlin clinched the win on a free throw with one second to go.
Jack Dwyer '18 led the Continentals with his first career double-double on 10 points and a career-best 14 assists. Dwyer's assist total is the most by a Hamilton player since Joseph Lin '15 was credited with a program-record 16 against Amherst College on Jan. 9, 2015. Dwyer is second in the NESCAC with 5.1 assists per game.
Ajani Santos '16 scored a season-high 18 points off the bench for the Continentals before he fouled out in the final seconds. Peter Hoffmann '19 chipped in 15 points and leads the team with 13.6 per game. Joe Pucci '18 added nine points and Andrew Groll '19 grabbed six rebounds. Hamilton held a 34-27 advantage on the boards.
Rowe led all players with 19 points and handed out six assists for the Camels. Robinson dropped in 14 points off the bench as Connecticut Coll. placed five scorers in double figures. Pavlin scored 12 points, David Labossiere had 11 and Daniel Janel contributed 10. All three finished with six rebounds. The Camels enjoyed a 28-10 advantage in points in the paint.
The Continentals led for most of the first half, including their largest advantage of five points at 11-6 with 12:17 left. A jumper by Santos gave Hamilton a 26-23 lead with 3:26 remaining but Connecticut Coll. responded with a 13-2 run for a 36-28 cushion with 1:04 to go. Labossiere started and ended the spurt with 3-pointers.
A trifecta by Michael Grassey '19 and a basket by Hoffmann just before the buzzer pulled the Continentals within 36-33 at the break.
The Camels' lead fluctuated between three and nine points for the first 13 minutes of the second half. Pucci drilled a shot from beyond the arc and tied the score at 62-62 with 6:30 left. Pavlin drained a 3-pointer on Connecticut College's next possession and the Camels were back in the lead until a Hoffmann jumper made it 68-68 with 3:41 remaining.
Robinson put Connecticut Coll. back in front with a jumper but Hamilton tied the score again on a pair of Dwyer free throws. Pavlin countered with two free throws for a 72-70 Camel lead before Hoffmann sank a 3-pointer and put the Continentals up by one with 2:01 to go.
Pavlin scored and was fouled on the next possession and Connecticut Coll. led 74-73 with 1:28 left. He missed the free throw and Labossiere grabbed the offensive rebound. Pavlin missed a shot from long range and Hamilton had a chance to take the lead again. The Continentals misfired on a shot attempt but Hoffmann was there for the offensive board and was fouled with 35 seconds remaining. He made both free throws for a 75-74 edge but those were the last points of the night for Hamilton.
The Continentals travel to Wesleyan University for another NESCAC game on Saturday, Jan. 9, at 3 p.m.