BENNINGTON, Vt. – Sam Jean-Gilles (Melrose, Mass.) had a game-high 20 points off the bench but it wasn't enough to stop the Regis (Mass.) men's basketball team from slipping below .500 in conference play, losing 83-75 at Southern Vermont Saturday in New England Collegiate Conference play at Mountaineer Athletic Center.
The victory helped SVC split the season series with the Pride and avenge a December loss at RC which ended the Mountaineers' 34-game regular season NECC winning streak. After losing its first two of the league schedule, Southern Vermont has now won its last five games to improve to 7-9 overall (5-2 NECC). Regis falls to 3-4 in Conference action and 6-10 overall with the loss.
SVC went into the halftime break ahead 40-27 and was able to keep the Pride from completing the comeback by having a successful finish at the free throw line.
The Mountaineers are now off until next Thursday when they head to Mitchell College for a 6 p.m. Conference showdown. Regis is next in action on Tuesday, visiting Lesley University for an 8 p.m. NECC tip-off.
Four of the SVC starters made it into double figures in the points column, being led by sophomore Josh Borders (Miami, Fla.) who scored 19 while adding six rebounds, three assists and a pair of steals to his line. Senior Rayshawn Taylor (Silver Spring, Md.) followed with 15 points and three boards, and junior Claude Payne (South Plainfield, N.J.) registered 14 points and six rebounds. Fellow junior Mike Pierre (Melrose, N.Y.) notched 13 points, a game-best nine rebounds and a day-leading seven assists to tie his season-high while senior Brandon Casella (Pittsfield, Mass.) came off the bench to down a pair of treys for six points.
Sophomore Ademola Afonja (Staten Island, N.Y.) tallied 12 points and four rebounds in 18 minutes off the bench. Senior Jaiwon Martin (Coral Springs, Fla.) added 10 points and another four boards in the effort.
Southern Vermont went 30-for-61 (49.2 percent) from the floor while the Pride were close behind with a 45.9 percent (28-61) clip. RC owned a 9-7 advantage in three-pointers and outscored the Mountaineers 38-34 in the paint, but the hosts tallied 16 free throws (84.2 percent) to the Pride's 10 (45.5 percent). SVC used its 7-3 upper hand in steals for a 20-9 edge in points off turnovers and ran the floor to record a 14-2 upper hand in fast-break points.
The Mountaineers never trailed all game, going in front 5-0 after the tip as senior Nate Goldsmith (Capitol Heights, Md.) downed a three from the left edge of the arc. Baskets went back-and-forth before consecutive scores by the visitors tied it at 9-9, but Taylor then banged home a jumper from the top of the key to spark an 8-2 SVC spurt. After the Pride cut into their deficit with five unanswered points, Pierre gave his team some separation as his 18-foot jumper from the right side caught a high, favorable bounce off the rim and went through.
Scoring was traded as the end of the half drew near. Afonja completed a nice alley-oop layup off an inbound pass underneath the SVC basket, but Casella would soon-after hit his first from downtown before fellow senior Ervin Cook (Germantown, Md.) dropped one of his own from the right corner to extend the lead to double digits (33-23). After Borders put home a layup, he had a hand in a thrilling steal-and-score sequence in which he got another short-range bucket to go while drawing the foul. Taylor then added a layup with seven ticks left for Southern Vermont to go into the break on top 40-27.
Martin nailed a three once the action got back underway, but Taylor came up with an answer as he hit one of his own on the ensuing trip down the floor. Regis slowly closed the gap back to 10— freshman Dimitri Rosa (Tiverton, R.I.) recording a trey from the top of the arc to make it a 51-41 SVC lead. RC brought the separation into single digits while SVC freshman Damon Daniel (Gaithersburg, Md.) helped maintain the hosts' breathing room when he cut down the lane and put a high floater over the outstretched Pride defense and off the glass for two.
Regis quickly got itself into foul trouble as the visitors picked up four personals in 42 seconds of clock time. The Pride wouldn't commit another one for the next 10 minutes but still managed to play tough and get themselves back within striking distance; RC got the deficit to eight before Jean-Gilles knocked home a triple from the top of the arc to make it a 65-60 game. Pierre would spark his team to a 7-0 run, however, scoring five points while assisting Payne on a fast-break layup to bump the difference back to 12.
Regis was forced to foul the Mountaineers late in the period in an attempt to have a chance. RC connected on three shots from the outside in the final 1:04 to inch closer, but SVC went 11-for-12 from the charity stripe during that time to stay in front and close out the win. Southern Vermont has now gone 46-for-53 (86.8 percent) from the line in its last three games and 95-for-119 (79.8 percent) during its five-game winning streak.
Recap courtesy of Southern Vermont Sports Information