Men's basketball plays Sunday for Hamilton Invitational title
Hamilton College's Peter Hoffmann '19 scored a season-high 19 points and the Continentals rallied for a 68-60 win against the SUNY Cobleskill Fighting Tigers in the 2015 Hamilton Men's Basketball Invitational at Margaret Bundy Scott Field House on Saturday night.
The Continentals (3-1 overall) play nationally ranked No. 14 Eastern Connecticut State University in Sunday's championship game at 3 p.m. The Warriors defeated Hartwick College earlier Saturday, 93-87. Hartwick takes on Cobleskill in the consolation game at 1 p.m.
Hoffmann scored 12 of his game-high 19 points in the first half. He ended up 7 of 11 from the floor, including 3 of 5 from beyond the arc.
Andrew Groll '19 and Jack Donnelly '16 dropped in 10 points apiece for Hamilton. Wes Wilbur '17 filled the stat sheet with 10 rebounds, seven points, two blocked shots and a career-best four steals. Donnelly and Wilbur helped the Continentals to a 31-13 advantage in points off the bench. Jack Dwyer '18 handed out five assists.
Hamilton held a commanding 48-26 advantage on the glass, including 17 offensive rebounds. The Continentals were credited with seven blocked shots and they are averaging more than seven per game. They limited the Fighting Tigers to 36.4 percent shooting from the field.
Cobleskill (0-5) received 13 points from both Quincey Miller and Frank D'Esti. D'Esti added seven of the Fighting Tigers' 12 steals and Miller chipped in five assists and three steals. Cobleskill led for nearly the entire first half and for a good portion of the second.
Hamilton took its first lead of the night at 31-30 on a Hoffmann dunk that just beat the halftime buzzer. The Fighting Tigers led by as many as seven points twice during the first half and there were just two ties -- both in the first three minutes.
Groll put the Continentals up by three with a jumper to start the second half but Cobleskill scored the next eight points for a 38-33 edge. Malik Chambers started the spurt with a 3-pointer and Brian Jackson added the next five points.
The Fighting Tigers' lead fluctuated between two and six points for the next nine minutes. A free throw by Miller made it 49-44 with 9:09 left.
Hamilton followed with a 12-2 run that put the Continentals in the lead for good. Kyle Pitman '17 started it with a 3-pointer and added a layup. Donnelly gave Hamilton a 51-49 edge on a jumper with 7:43 remaining and the Continentals called for a 30-second timeout.
Ralph Erickson tied the score for the fifth and final time of the night on two free throws with 6:42 to go. A free throw by Joe Pucci '18 gave Hamilton the lead for good at 52-51, Wilbur added two more shots from the charity stripe and Pucci ended the run on a layup that made it 56-51 with 5:14 left.
Cobleskill didn't get closer than three points the rest of the way. The Continentals, who shot 50 percent in the second half, took its largest lead of the night at 68-58 on a Groll free throw in the final seconds.
In the opener, ECSU (3-2) received 31 points from Trachone Preston and 19 and five assists from Tarchee Brown. Hugh Lindo contributed a game-high 12 rebounds and seven assists. The Warriors held a 40-29 advantage on the boards and enjoyed a 24-11 edge in second-chance points.
For Hartwick (2-2), five players scored in double figures, led by Brandon LaForest's 22 points. Trevor Norton had 18, Matt Wilson scored 15, Justin Pratt drained four 3-pointers off the bench and finished with 14, and Joey Lufkin finished with 10. Lufkin dished out six assists and Wilson grabbed nine rebounds before he fouled out midway through the second half.
The Hawks led once at 2-0 and that was followed by an 11-2 ECSU run for an 11-4 advantage midway through the first half. The Warriors' lead fluctuated between five and 12 points the rest of the half, and ECSU held a 37-27 cushion at the break. Preston had 13 points and LaForest had 12 in the opening 20 minutes.
Brown opened the second half with a 3-pointer (he scored 15 in the final 20 minutes) and the Warriors led by double-digits most of the rest of the way. ECSU grabbed its largest lead of 17 points at 68-51 with 9:39 left. Hartwick clawed all the way back to within four points in the closing seconds but never made it a one-possession game.