BENNINGTON, Vt. – The No. 2 seed Regis College men's basketball team pulled an upset during the New England Collegiate Conference Championship, shocking No. 1 seed Southern Vermont College, 74-72, on Saturday night at the Mountaineer Athletic Center. The victory was the Pride's first NECC Championship since joining the conference in 2011 and they handed the Mountaineers - who were previously undefeated in NECC play - their first conference loss. The loss also snapped Southern Vermont's 16 game win streak.
The Pride stand at 19-8 overall and have earned the NECC's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. The Crimson and Gold find out their opponent on Monday afternoon when the NCAA Selection Show goes live at 12:30 p.m. on NCAA.com.
Junior Jordan Monts (Springfield, Mass.) was named the Tournament's MVP after converting clutch free-throws in a loud and deafening atmosphere down the stretch including a pair of freebies with four seconds left to give the Pride the lead. Junior Jeff Tagger Jr. (Brockton, Mass.) joined Monts on the All-Tournament team averaging 16.5 points, a perfect 9-of-9 from the charity stripe, four rebounds, two assists and 1.5 steals during two games. Sophomore Sam Jean-Gilles (Melrose, Mass.) chipped in with 14 points to go with four blocks, three boards and a pair of assists and junior Chris Keaton (Beverly, Mass.) also hit double digits with 11 points in the win.
Mountaineer junior DeShawn Hamlet (Hartford, Conn.) tallied a game-best 22 points while adding 12 rebounds for the double-double, his eighth of the season, to be included on the All-Tournament Team. Classmate William Bromirski (Cambridge, N.Y.) followed with 16 points, four rebounds and two assists to also be named to the All-Tournament squad, while senior captain Dolapo Olugbile (Laurel, Md.) notched eight points and eight boards. Junior Casey Hall (Albany, N.Y.) added seven points, six rebounds and four blocks in the effort.
Both teams hit five-of-six free throws in the final 26 seconds of play, although Regis having to do so while battling the Mountaineer faithful's rowdy noise. After Hall knocked down a pair to tie the game at 72-72 with six ticks left on the clock, he attempted to block a quick Monts layup on the other end but was called for the foul that sent the junior to the charity stripe for a pair. Monts knocked down both of his free throws, and Southern Vermont was left to toss up a desperation three as time expired to no avail.
SVC started the game with a ton of momentum, igniting its fans when Bromirski knocked down a shot from about 15 feet behind the arc, his second trey in the early going that put Southern Vermont on top 12-4. Hamlet then downed a three-pointer of his own to put the Mountaineers ahead 15-6, their biggest lead of the night. That's when Keaton drilled a three of his own from the left side to spark an 8-0 Regis run that cut the visitor's deficit to one.
RC would then take its first lead of the game when Tagger Jr. knocked down a three-pointer in the left corner, beating the shot clock to put his team on top 19-18. Regis padded its lead as Jean-Gilles backed in to the low post and put it off the glass for a 23-18 Pride advantage. The ensuing possession saw SVC sophomore Nate Goldsmith (Seat Pleasant, Md.) hit a deep shot that only counted for two as he was on the line, but Tagger Jr. swished a nice floater in the lane on the next trip down the floor.
Goldsmith then put a notch in the three-point column before Monts dribbled around a pick at the top of the key, pulled up and knocked down a jumper to make it 29-23 with 3:23 to play in the first. After Tagger Jr. connected on a pair of free throws to bump the Pride's lead up to eight, RC did not score in the final three minutes of the stanza. Instead, Southern Vermont scored five unanswered points leading to the break, sending the game to halftime with Regis holding onto a 31-28 lead.
The Pride converted 10-of-30 (33.3%) of their shot attempts during the first half while the Mountaineers made 11-of-27 (40.7%). The Crimson and Gold also forced 12 Southern Vermont turnovers which led to 18 points off turnovers for the Pride. After being down nine at the 14:23 mark, Regis used a 21-4 run over an 11 minute span to gain their first lead of the contest.
SVC came out of the locker room with energy fueled by its fans, grabbing six quick points as Olgubile finished an and-one play on the opening possession of the second, followed by another Bromirski triple for the 34-31 Southern Vermont advantage. Pride senior captain Ethan Peana (Staten Island, N.Y.) drove baseline and finished a pretty reverse off the glass to start a 6-0 RC run that put the visitors back in the driver's seat, and Regis would never trail the rest of the way.
Hamlet knocked down a pair of free throws to tie the game at 38-all, but Keaton and Tagger Jr. connected on consecutive three-pointers to put the Pride on top once again and force an SVC timeout. RC went up 49-42 when Monts fired a perimeter pass down low to Jean-Gilles for the open layup, but Olugbile got a shot to go while falling away from the basket on the right side of the court as the teams battled back-and-forth. Regis answered as Jean-Gilles jumped up near the hoop to catch a pass and subsequently put it off the backboard while still in the air, and the Pride then scored the next three points to go up 56-46.
Both sides traded points as time waned until a Monts layup at the 2:58 mark put the Pride ahead 66-54, their biggest separation of the contest. But the Mountaineers would not go quietly, and Bromirski knocked down a deep three before making a nice dish to Hamlet in the post during a 7-0 SVC run that closed the gap to 66-61. Southern Vermont trailed by six with 1:21 to go, but foul trouble for both teams would see the rest of the game's points come from the free throw line. Four straight baskets from the charity stripe allowed SVC to get within two at 69-67, and the Mountaineers then forced Regis to turn the ball over on a five-second inbound violation on the ensuing restart. Hamlet was fouled while going up for the tying bucket, but he would calmly hit both of his freebies to even the game with 26 seconds to go.
As Regis tried to run the court, Monts was the beneficiary of a foul call on Hamlet and sunk his two free throws to put the Pride in front by two. Hamlet would be fouled once again on the Mountaineers' next possession, but he would miss the front-end of his bonus opportunity before making the second to set the score at 71-70.
With only seven seconds on the clock, Southern Vermont was forced to foul Monts who made one-of-two at the line to keep SVC within two; on the rebound of the back-end miss, Hall was fouled and went to the line for a chance to tie. He was successful on both shots, and overtime seemed to be in the works. But as the final seconds ticked away, Hall went up to swat a Monts layup, only to be called for the personal foul that sent the Regis captain to the line for what proved to be the game-winning baskets.
Regis finished the game with a 46.4 field goal percentage (26-56) while holding the Mountaineers to a 36.7 percent clip (22-60). The Pride outscored SVC in the paint (34-20) and in points off turnovers (22-12). SVC owned the boards, grabbing 49 rebounds to RC's 26; the Mountaineers owned a 20-6 edge on the offensive glass, using those caroms for a 17-6 advantage in second-chance points.
Daniel Webster College sophomore Shawn Fenton (South River, New Jersey) was also named to the All-Tournament Team along with Becker College junior Rashaun Liggon (Elizabeth, New Jersey).
Release Courtesy of Southern Vermont College Sports Information