Northfield, Vt. - Senior tri-captain forward Connor Merinder (Andover, Mass.) had 12 points and eight rebounds to lead the Trinity College Bantams to a 51-49 victory over the Southern Vermont College Mountaineers in the opening round of the Ed Hockenbury Men's Basketball Classic at Norwich University this evening. Trinity improves to 4-2, snapping a two-game losing skid, and will face the host Norwich University Cadets in the finals tomorrow at 3 p.m. Southern Vermont falls to 3-2 and will play Maine-Augusta in the consolation game tomorrow at 1 p.m.
Neither team was able to pull away from the other throughout, as the teams entered halftime separated by just one point. Trailing, 25-22 in the closing seconds of the first half, Trinity went ahead, 26-25, when sophomore Colin Donovan (Westborough, Mass.) made a three-pointer with one tick left, was fouled on the play, and made the free throw. The second half proved just as tight, and Kyle Depollar made a free throw to put the Mountaineers up, 38-36, with 11:47 remaining. Trinity rookie guard Anthony Kelley (Springfield, Mass.) scored on a drive and Donovan drilled another trey to give the Bantams a 41-38 edge just over a minute later, but Depollar answered with a three-pointer to tie the game at 41-all midway through the second stanza.
Trinity junior guard Joe Bell (Manchester, N.H.) connected from long range to give Trinity the lead for good at 44-41 at the nine-minute mark, and a Donovan jumper gave Trinity its biggest lead of the game at 50-43 with 6:29 on the clock. The Bantams did not make a field goal the rest of the way, however, and Southern Vermont trailed, 51-49, with the ball at the end but Trinity held on.
Kelley joined Merinder in double figures in scoring with a career-high 11 points, sinking all five of hie field goal attempts and his only free throw. Sophomore forward Donald Jorden (Tampa, Fla.) added six points, a team-high 11 rebounds, four assists and a pair of blocks, while Donovan finished with nine points off the bench. Depollar and Frayer Jr. led the way for SVC with 15 and 12 points each, while Andre Hodo pulled down 15 boards for Southern Vermont.