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Hot shooting helps Hamilton past Morrisville

Hamilton College's Matt Hart ’16 scored 21 second-half points, including the game-winning basket with 1.8 seconds left, and the Continentals (5-2 overall) rallied for an 82-80 non-conference win against the Morrisville State College Mustangs at Hamilton’s Margaret Bundy Scott Field House on Tuesday night.

Box score

Hart, who led the Continentals with 23 points, sparked a second-half rally that pulled Hamilton out of a seven-point hole. He hit a jumper from the top of the key with 1.8 seconds left after the Mustangs had tied the score on a free throw by Brandon Hanks ‘14.

The Mustangs (4-5) had two possessions after Hart’s go-ahead basket. Hart leaped and intercepted the ensuing inbounds pass near the Morrisville free-throw line but was called for traveling after he fell down with the ball with 0.4 remaining. The Mustangs’ inbound pass from their own baseline was knocked away by Hamilton’s Peter Kazickas ’15 at the buzzer and sealed the Continentals’ third win in four games.

The Continentals made roughly two-thirds of their shots in the second half, converting 21 of 31 shots, including seven of their eight 3-point attempts. Hamilton made nine shots in a row and helped turn a seven-point deficit into a six-point lead.

Morrisville, a “sweet 16” team in last season's NCAA tournament, took a 54-47 lead on a layup by Tom Wilk ’14 with 12:07 left. Hart’s 3-point basket on Hamilton’s next possession was the first of nine straight baskets over a stretch of 4:30 that left the Continentals ahead 71-65 with 7:21 to go. Hart scored 11 points during the 24-11 spurt, Joseph Lin ’15 and Jack Donnelly ’16 also connected on 3-point baskets and Matt Dean '14 added a pair of jump shots.

Hamilton took its biggest lead at 78-71 with 3:48 remaining on a 3-point basket and a layup by Bradley Gifford ’15 on back-to-back trips. Gifford, who finished with 16 points (one short of his career high), added a pair of free throws with 2:22 left before the Mustangs started their rally.

A basket by Jailaan Kinsey ’14 brought Morrisville to within 80-77. Wilk then made a steal, which led to a layup by Jordan Prior ’14 that made it 80-79 with 52 seconds on the clock. Hamilton missed its next shot with 20 seconds left and Brandon Hanks came up with the rebound. Hanks was fouled with 12 seconds to go and missed his first try, but tied the score at 80 on his second attempt.

Hart scored 21 of his 23 points in the second half. Kazickas scored 11 points and Ajani Santos ’16 matched a career high with nine points off the bench. Greg Newton ’14 led Hamilton with four assists and Dean, Donnelly, Hart and Lin each had three of the team’s total of 19. Donnelly also led the Continentals with a career-high three steals.

Kucjok Ater ’14 led Morrisville with 21 points as he and Prior combined to make all 11 of their free-throw attempts, and the Mustangs posted a 25-for-29 performance as a team. Hanks had eight points and a game-high six rebounds, which helped Morrisville outrebound the Continentals, 36-20.

Hamilton plays its second non-conference game in as many days on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at the University of Rochester. The Mustangs are idle until Jan. 8, when they’ll travel to Alfred State.

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