Hartford, Conn. – Sophomore John Mrlik (San Francisco, Calif.) had 16 points and eight rebounds, including the game-tying and game-winning free throws with 0.4 seconds remaining in the game, to lead the visiting Vassar College Brewers to a 63-62 win over the Trinity College Bantams in the finals of the Trinity College Men's Basketball Holiday Invitational this afternoon in Oosting Gymnasium. Vassar improves to 7-1 after an 0-1 start, while Trinity drops to 7-4 with its first loss in four games. Wentworth downed Maine-Fort Kent in the consolation game, 78-46.
With Trinity trailing, 61-55, with just over a minute left in the contest after a layup by Vassar junior forward Luke Ladan (Belmont, Mass.), Bantam sophomore guard Jaquann Starks (Hartford, Conn.) made a pair from the charity stripe and drilled a three-pointer to make the score, 61-60, with 33 seconds on the clock. The Trinity defense forced a quick turnover, and junior Hart Gliedman (New York, N.Y.) converted on two foul shots to give the home team the lead with eight seconds left to play. After a time out, Mrlik drove to the lane, was fouled while attempting a clinching shot, and calmly sank the deciding pair from the foul line.
Trinity had scored the game's first five points and opened up a 19-10 advantage after a layup by junior forward Alex Conaway (New Haven, Conn.) midway through the first half, but Vassar fought its way back to a 27-26 lead thanks to a put-back by senior tri-captain forward Evan Carberry (Metuchen, N.Y.) with just over two minutes left before the break. Trinity trailed, 30-29, at halftime despite a 19-13 advantage on the boards and eight points off the bench by rookie Chris Turnbull (Ridgewood, N.J.), while Carberry paced the Brewers with eight first-half points.
Vassar came out strong in the second stanza, taking an early 37-31 lead on a trey by sophomore guard Erikson Wasyl (Durham, Conn.), but Trinity tied it 39-39 on two free throws by sophomore forward Shay Ajayi (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and built a 49-44 lead at the midpoint of the half on six straight buckets by Conaway. Gliedman drained a three-pointer for a 55-50 Bantam lead with 5:34 on the clock, but 11 unanswered points by Vassar turned it into a 61-55 Trinity deficit with under two minutes remaining.
Starks paced Trinity with 14 points, six rebounds, and six assists, and represented the Bantams on the all-tournament team, while Ajayi added eight points and eight rebounds, and junior co-captain center George Papadeas (Athens, Greece) blocked five shots. Mrlik and Brewer junior forward Alex Snyder (Rutland, Vt.), who totaled 14 points, eight boards, and three assists, graced the all-tournament squad for Vassar. Wasyl added 11 points for the Brewers. Derek Mayo, of Wentworth, and Mike McClung, of Maine-Fort Kent, rounded out the all-tournament squad.