POUGHKEEPSIE – Paul Grinde became the 17th player in Vassar College men’s basketball history to reach the 1,000-point plateau with a three-pointer at the 8:18 mark of the first half against Hobart on Friday night. He finished with a career-high 29 points, as the Brewers (11-13, 7-10 Liberty) earned a 104-101 double-overtime victory at the Athletic & Fitness Center to complete their first-ever season sweep of the Statesmen (14-10, 11-6 Liberty).
Needing 11 points to reach the milestone, Grinde had 16 in the first half. His 1,000th point came on a trey from the top of the key that capped an 11-5 Vassar run, as the Brewers trimmed a 23-14 deficit to 28-25. Vassar went ahead, 32-31, on a traditional three-point play by Lance Tebay with 4:42 left in the half before Hobart responded with five straight points to go back in front.
The Statesmen took a 39-36 lead into the locker room, but the Brewers tied it when Tebay sank a trey on the first possession of the second half. Another Tebay three at the 16:38 mark broke a 43-43 tie and ignited a 10-4 Vassar run that put the Brewers up six, 55-49, with 13:05 left in the second half. After a Zach Bromfeld jumper gave Vassar its largest lead of the night, a 61-53 advantage, Hobart used a 14-6 spurt to force a 67-67 deadlock with 4:11 remaining in regulation. Vassar rattled off the next five points to take a 72-67 lead before the Statesmen went on a 5-0 run of their own to again even the score at 72-72.
After Hobart’s Edens Fleurizard hit a pair of free throws that made it 74-74 with 38 seconds remaining, Vassar took timeout and held for one shot. Chris Gallivan missed a trey at the 12-second mark, but the ball went out of bounds to the Brewers, giving Vassar the opportunity to go for the win. Alex Seff’s attempt at the buzzer was off the mark, though, sending the contest into overtime.
Late in the extra period, it was Hobart that had the ball and a chance to win. A Grinde layup had put Vassar ahead 87-86 with 15 seconds left, allowing the Statesmen to hold for a final shot. Colin Dougherty missed a layup, but got his own rebound and was fouled with three seconds remaining. His first free throw was off the mark, though, and the Brewers got the ball back in an 87-87 game. However, Tebay’s three-pointer at the buzzer was off the mark, and Vassar, which hadn’t played an overtime contest in three years, moved into a second extra period.
With the score tied 92-92 midway through the second overtime, Seff hit a jumper and was fouled. He converted the free throw, then Tebay nailed a trey on the Brewers’ next possession to make it a six-point game, 98-92. That would prove to be the decisive blow, as Seff went 4-for-4 at the line down the stretch to close out the 104-101 victory.
It was Vassar’s first overtime win since a 79-74 triumph at Hamilton on Dec. 6, 2014. The Brewers’ last double overtime victory came more than six years ago, when they topped St. Lawrence 84-80 on Feb. 2, 2013. It also marked the second time this season that Vassar reached the century mark, having scored 101 points in the season-opening win over New Rochelle on Nov. 16.
“Our guys came out here this week, had a good week of practice, and were able to execute tonight,” Head Coach Ryan Mee said. “I’m really thrilled with their performance.”
“We’ve got these last two games where we just want to finish strong,” Grinde added. “We had a little toughness to us in the game, and I think that’s what helped us.”
Grinde handed out a career-best seven assists to go along with his 29 points. Seff, who notched his 1,000th point on Jan. 19, tallied 20 points, five rebounds and four assists, while Tebay tallied 19 points and five boards. Mason Dyslin ended up just shy of a double-double with 13 points and nine rebounds, and Steve Palecki contributed seven points while adding seven rebounds.
As a team, Vassar shot 52.2 percent (36-of-69) from the field, including 40 percent (10-of-25) from three-point land, and 66.7 percent (22-of-33) at the free throw line. The Brewers were credited with 24 assists while committing just 12 turnovers and also recorded seven blocks.
Colin Dougherty and Tucker Lescoe had 27 points apiece for the Statesmen. Dougherty also registered five rebounds, four assists and four steals. Jamal Lewis gave Hobart three players with 20 points in the contest, finishing with 21 points to go along with seven boards. Fleurizard chipped in 11 points, and Jackson Meshanic pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds. Hobart shot 41.5 percent (34-of-82) from the floor and outrebounded Vassar 50-38. The Statesmen went 14-for-30 (46.7 percent) from long range and 19-for-24 (79.2 percent) at the charity stripe.