Poultney, VT – The Lyndon State College men's basketball team fought back from a dojuble digit second half deficit to force overtime, then came up with some huge plays late in the extra session and defeated Green Mountain College, 86-84, on Saturday evening.
Green Mountain (5-7, 3-4 North Atlantic Conference) had a prime opportunity to control its own destiny with possession of the ball in the Hornets' half with the game tied at 82-82 and just 16 seconds remaining in the game. However, on the ensuing inbounds play CJ Jimmy (Modesto, CA) forced an Eagle turnover and Green Mountain was called for a flagrant foul trying to prevent Darren Williams (Wiesbaden, Germany) from converting a breakaway layup with 11 seconds remaining. Williams drained the second of two free throws and then Ricky Shuford would hit both of his after getting fouled to give the Hornets an 85-82 lead.
Lyndon then fould before Green Mountain could attempt a tying three-pointer, and the Eagles' De Shaun Carr (Moreno Valley, CA) made both of his free throws to cut the deficit back to one. Shuford was fouled with 2 seconds remaining and made the first of two and Jimmy came up with the offensive rebound on the second shot and sealed the win.
Lyndon (2-10, 2-6 NAC) broke out to the early lead and managed to maintain that lead, even if slim at some points, for the majority of the opening half. Green Mountain finally pulled even at 31-31 on Carr's three-pointer at the 4:31 mark. Shuford responded with six-straight points of his own and Lyndon went into halftime with a 37-33 advantage.
The Eagles started the second half quickly, jumping out on a 12-2 run capped by an Alex Sanchez (San Fernando Valley, CA) triple.
After the teams traded baskets over the next several minutes, the Eagles went on another run, this time a 10-2 advantage to open up an 11-point lead with 10:16 remaining. The Eagles were able to hold that lead until after Christian Przybyla (Clifton, NJ) hit a three-pointer to give the hosts a 70-59 lead with 6:25 to go.
Over the course of the next four and a half minutes, the Hornets erased the lead and tied the game at 72-72 with a 13-2 run capped by a jumper by Jahleel Gabriel (Springfield, MA). Matt Hess (Rising Sun, MD) converted two free throws wiht 1:06 to go to put the Eagles back in front, but Shuford tied things again by knocking down a jumper with 44 seconds to go. Lyndon then got a stop on the next Green Mountain possession, but Shuford's jumper at the buzzer was off the mark and the teams headed to overtime.
The Eagles held a slim lead through the first three minutes of overtime, but Shuford was too strong in the extra frame scoring eight of the Hornets' final nine points to clinch the victory.
Shuford scored a game-high 31 points off the bench for the Hornets while Williams, Jr. led the starters with 14 points in addition to his seven rebounds. Jimmy and Gabriel each scored 10 points with Gabriel earning the double-double with a game-high 15 boards. Robbie Rouelle (St. Johnsbury, VT) contributed 16 points off the bench as well.
Green Mountain was led by Carr's 25 points. Sanchez dropped 12 points and grabbed eight boards while Hess contributed 10. Sean Leflore (Moreno Valley, CA) led the reserves with 15 points and five rebounds.
Lyndon shot an even 50 percent from the field for the game, while the Eagles posted a 43.3 percent mark. Green Mountain managed to win the battle in the paint outscoring the visitors 35-24, but the Hornets capitalized on the few turnovers the Eagles made with 23 points off of 14 turnovers. The Hornets also bested the Eagles on the glass 41-37.
The Hornets will travel to Norwich Univerisity on Wednesday for a 5:00 pm non-conference contest. Green Mountain will travel to Colby-Sawyer on Tuesday.