CHICOPEE, Mass. – The Elms College men's basketball team overcame an 20-point, second-half deficit to rally past visiting Mitchell College, 74-69, in a New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) battle at Picknelly Arena Saturday afternoon.
With the win, the Blazers improved to 4-13 on the season and 4-6 in conference play, while the Mariners fell to 3-7 in the NECC and 3-15 overall.
The Blazers captured an opening 3-0 lead behind a trey from DeAngelo Cousar, but the Mariners responded with an 8-0 run. Symon Smith knocked down a three-pointer followed by a layup from Conny Ihearahu to even the tilt at 10-10.
The sides traded the lead as a drive from Trifon Bish put the Blazers up 13-12 until Mitchell's Mack Bertram-Gregory jarred a pair of treys to hand the Mariners the lead for the next 32 minutes of action. Elms cut the lead to 18-17, but the Mariners used a 15-7 run over the next five minutes, capped by back-to-back threes from Alan Morgan and Tre Holmes, to build a 33-24 lead. A trey from Morgan pushed the lead to 38-28 with 2:26 on the clock, but Elms closed the half behind five straight points from Cousar to trim the gap to 38-33 at the break.
The Mariners started strong in the second half with a 10-0 run over the first three minutes, featuring five points from Hasani Williams. At the 11:55 mark, Bertram-Gregory connected on his sixth trey of the game to give the Mariners their largest lead at 59-39.
The Blazers mounted their improbable comeback over the next six minutes, orchestrating a 20-5 run that was highlighted by eight points from Spencer Douglas, to trim the gap to 64-59 with 5:48 to play. Bish then carried the Blazers on a 9-4 run with eight points over the next three minutes to even the game at 68-68 at the 3:21 mark.
Elms grabbed a 70-68 lead on a bucket from Bish with 1:19 to go. A free throw from Williams cut the gap to 70-69, but Smith knocked down a layup and a pair of free throws to seal the 74-69 comeback victory.
The Blazers had four scorers in double figures as Bish matched a career high with 22 points to go with seven rebounds, three assists and three steals. Smith netted 19 points and shot 7-for-12 from the floor with five rebounds and four assists. Cousar added 14 points while Ihearahu fell one rebound shy of a double-double with 11 points and nine boards. Douglas chipped in eight points, four rebounds and two steals off the bench.
Mitchell was led by double-double efforts from Williams and Santiago. Santiago tallied 14 points with 10 rebounds while Williams grabbed a game-high 15 rebounds with 12 points. Bertram-Gregory poured in a team-high 18 points, and Morgan dished out a game-high 10 assists with eight points and three rebounds. Geary McLeod had 10 points, eight rebounds, three assists and three steals in the loss.
Mitchell will next host John Jay College in non-conference play on Monday, January 30 at 6:00 p.m.