BENNINGTON — New England Collegiate Conference teams coming into the Mountaineer Athletic Center are warned — the Southern Vermont College men's basketball team will protect its house.
The Mountaineers did that in big-time fashion on Saturday, putting up more than 100 points for the fourth time this season in a 103-87 win over Mitchell College.
DeShawn Hamlet was the leader for the Mountaineers on the scoresheet, putting up 37 points on 15-of-22 shooting, including a pair of threes. He also grabbed 12 rebounds for a double-double as the senior dominated down low.
"DeShawn has historically good games against Mitchell, and we knew we could get them into foul trouble," said SVC coach Dan Engelstad. "They couldn't stop just [him] inside, because he made a couple of threes. We got him a lot of paint touches and got him going."
Hamlet said after last week's loss to Middlebury, there was a renewed effort to protect the MAC.
"We prepared this week with rim runs, we knew their big guys were a little slower, we wanted to run them out of the gym," said Hamlet. "Coach said if anyone in the country wants to run with us, he'd love it."
SVC took an early lead and continued to extend it, at one point in the half, William Bromirski hit his fourth 3-pointer of the first half, forcing Mitchell coach Todd Peretz to call a timeout with the Mariners down 45-30 with six minutes left in the half.
Bromirski scored 14 points on 5-of-10 shooting, including 4-of-8 from beyond the arc. Casey Hall was the second-leading scorer with 16 points, including 6-for-7 from the line. Josh Borders had one of his better games of the season with 11 points and Rayshawn Taylor had 10 off the bench in 14 minutes.
Overall, the Mountaineers hit 19-of-22, 86 percent, from the charity stripe.
In the second half, Mitchell tried to make a comeback on the back of Parris Hill, who had 28 points to lead all five Mariner starters in double figures. An 8-0 run cut the advantage to nine at 65-56, but like a shot, SVC rattled off eight in a row of its own to jump the lead back to 73-56 with 13:16 left.
A big part of the run was Jeff James, who had a career-high eight assists on the afternoon.
"We had guys delivering from all over the place, five in doubles and passing the heck out of the ball," Engelstad said. "Everyone contributed and when that happens, it's hard for the other team to get stops, because where are you plugging the hole?"
Hamlet showed his toughness a few minutes later. Skying for a rebound, he was poked in the eye and was stunned for a moment while his team moved the ball up the floor. Still dealing with the injury, Hamlet came back down court and stopped just behind the three-point line. He took a pass and fired the ball for a shot and buried a three, making it 80-63.
The Mountaineers reached the 100-point plateau for the fourth time this season, and the 103 points is the second-highest total of the year behind the 106 they scored against MCLA.
"We don't want to take the foot off the gas, we're always going, no matter what," Hamlet said. "[The] Middlebury [game] was the first time we got punched in the mouth, where we had a good week of prep, but we didn't put a good effort out. We didn't want to lose at home."
SVC continues league play against Newbury with a matchup at the MAC on Tuesday.