NORTHFIELD, Vt. - The first day of the 2018 Ed Hockenbury Class men's tournament took place on Saturday afternoon, with Norwich University starting the day against the University of Maine at Augusta followed by a showdown between Southern Vermont College and Trinity College.
The Cadets got the action started against the Moose of UMaine-Augusta, in a game that Norwich controlled from the tip-off. Norwich started things off with a 15-5 run capped by a Kyle Booth (Northfield, Vt.) three-pointer, put the Moose responded with a 10-2 run of their own to bring it back to 17-15 early on. Things went back and forth for the duration of the first half, as UMaine hung with the Cadets. Norwich scored five unanswered points in the final minute, highlighted by a Christopher Bryant (Crestview, Fla.) three-point play, to head into the break with a comfortable 46-31 lead.
Norwich turned the offensive pressure up in the second half, balancing the offensive attack and putting up a 50.0% mark from the field and a 40.0% mark from three in the half to win the half 52-47 and cruise to the 98-78 victory.
13 different Cadets recorded points in this one, as Norwich spread the wealth around offensively. Senior Daniel Haimes (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) provided a massive spark off the bench, collecting 20 points in 19 minutes on 6-11 shooting from three. Kyle Booth put up 15 points, five rebounds, and three assists, as Norwich put up shooting splits of 55.0/39.3/75.0 as a team in the victory.
Noah Thompson, Dustin Simpson-Bragg, and Bryce Gibson all netted 17 points apiece for the Moose, with Simon-Bragg pulling down a game-high eight rebounds as well.
Game two of the day pitted the Bantams of Trinity College against the Mountaineers of Southern Vermont College for a spot in Sunday's championship game. In what would turn out to be one of the most exciting games of the weekend thus far, Trinity was able to pull off the 51-49 victory.
Neither team was able to pull away from the other throughout, as the two teams entered halftime separated by just one point. The second half proved just as tight, as Trinity shot 41.7% from the field and Kyle Depollar put up 13 points for SVC to create a two-point game with 29 seconds remaining.
Depollar hit the first of two free throws, and Andre Hodo pulled down the offensive board on the miss to retain possession for the Mountaineers. After running the clock down to two seconds and calling timeout, the Mountaineers in-bound play found the hands of Donnell Frayer Jr. who threw up a heavily contested three from the corner, just missing as the buzzer sounded and Trinity held onto the victory.
Trinity was led by Connor Merinder who had 12 points and eight rebounds, as well as Donald Jorden who pulled down 11 rebounds while collecting four assists and a pair of blocks. Depollar and Frayer Jr. led the way for SVC with 15 and 12 points each, while Andre Hodo pulled down 15 boards.
Saturday's results create a Southern Vermont and UMaine-Augusta third-place game tomorrow at 1:00 PM, followed immediately by Norwich and Trinity battling for the championship at 3:00 PM.