SVC men edge Fitchburg at buzzer

BENNINGTON — Tuesday night's non-conference men's basketball contest at the Mountaineer Athletic Center saw 22 lead changes, but it would be the final switch that gave hosting Southern Vermont College a 90-89 victory over Fitchburg State University.

Neither side led by more than five at any point of the tilt as play was close from the jump. After the Falcons brought a 42-39 upper hand into the locker room, SVC came back to tie the game or grab the edge multiple occasions throughout the final 20 minutes. FSU consistently had an answer, but the Falcons ran out of time to find a response after Southern Vermont junior Kyle Depollar knocked down a triple with 1.2 seconds on the clock to put his team in front by one.

The Mountaineers begin the season at 3-0 for the first time since the 2001-02 squad went 5-0 to open up the year. Fitchburg State falls to 0-3 on the campaign.

SVC's Claude Payne registered a team-high 22 points on the night, a career-high for the senior. He also added seven rebounds. Classmate Mike Pierre followed with 17 points and six boards as sophomore Tyler McLeod notched 16 points and 10 rebounds for his second double-double of the year in 26 minutes off the bench. Daemond Carter had 14 points — all coming in the second half — as Depollar finished with 10.

Fitchburg State's Jerrell Gomes led all players with 26 points as Jonathan Perez tallied 20 in 31 minutes of reserve time. Brandon Harris registered 12 points and a team-leading six rebounds, and classmate Brandon Guerrero had 10 points in the effort.

The Falcons shot a solid 53.3 percent (33-62) from the floor including a 10-25 (40 percent) clip from downtown. SVC wasn't far behind at 40 percent (28-70) from field goal range with a 7-23 (30.4 percent) showing from three, but the Mountaineers' 27-32 (84.4 percent) performance at the free throw line was a huge factor late in the game. Southern Vermont owned the glass with a 46-26 advantage in rebounds — its 23-8 upper hand on the offensive boards leading to the hosts outscoring FSU 21-9 in second-chance points.

Fitchburg took a three-point lead to the break, but SVC jumped right back on top in the onset of the second half as Carter was a smooth 4-4 from the charity stripe while his team went up 45-42. Free throws were traded before a Perez triple was immediately matched by one from Carter on the ensuing trip down the floor as neither side could maintain the lead. A Harris 3-pointer helped Fitchburg State make it a two-possession game with 10:43 left to go, and Guerrero would soon-after knock down a pair of freebies to extend the lead to five.

The Mountaineers continued to push, however, with Carter dropping his second from downtown before he swiped it away from the Falcons, drew the foul, and hit both of his free throws for Southern Vermont to go in front 68-67. FSU would take to an 8-3 spurt behind a Guerrero deep ball for the momentum to swing back to the visitors, and they were able to stay ahead over the next 3:28. Finally, McLeod tied it at 82-82 with a pair of baskets from the charity stripe—setting up a thrilling last few minutes.

After Perez dropped a three, SVC scored the next four points to go up by one. Perez followed an errant shot from the outside and put back his own rebound for the 87-86 upper hand, and Pierre then went 1-2 from the line to tie it once again. Gomes connected at the other end for an 89-87 lead with 12 seconds left to go—forcing Southern Vermont to use a timeout and draw up its final possession.

Depollar took the ball at the top of the arc with time expiring, set up, and launched an open look that caught nothing-but-net as the buzzer went off. The officials converged and decided that the clock should have been stopped with 1.2 ticks left; without a timeout to use, Fitchburg State was forced to send a long pass down the court to no avail as neither side could corral it for the horn to sound and give SVC the triumphant victory.

SVC is next in action on Saturday when the Mountaineers visit Castleton University for a 1 p.m. inner-state showdown.

SVC women fall to Falcons

BENNINGTON — The visiting Fitchburg State University Falcons took an early lead Tuesday evening and were able to control most of the game to finish with a 101-58 win in non-conference women's basketball action at the Mountaineer Athletic Center.

After FSU took a 48-22 advantage into the break, the Mountaineers cut into the Falcons' lead in the third quarter. Fitchburg State responded with 35 points in the fourth, however, to pull away for the sizable victory.

Southern Vermont was led offensively by junior Maddy Main, who notched game-highs of 23 points and 13 rebounds for her second double-double of the year. Sophomore Taylor Mallett added 12 points and seven rebounds while classmate Sarah Poirier went 3-5 from downtown to contribute nine points.

Sophomore Emma Thomson led the Falcons with 22 points, and senior Michaela McTomney added 12 points to go along with her four rebounds. Freshman Chloe Roberts came off the bench and pitched in 11 points as each of the 13 Falcons who saw action contributed offensively for the visitors.

Next up for the Mountaineers (0-3) is this weekend's Dr. Betty Shabazz Tournament hosted by Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn; SVC will take on the hosting Cougars in the opening round of the bracket-style event on Friday with tip-off slated for 5 p.m.


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