FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. --(Matt Stokes, Methodist University) Matt Vadas scored 28 points for Connecticut College, and the visiting Camels thwarted a late Methodist rally in holding on for a 75-72 win in men's basketball action at the Riddle Center on Monday afternoon.
"We were very fortunate to win against a very well coached Methodist team," Connecticut College Head Men's Basketball Coach Tom Satran said. "We are healthy for the first time since the second game of the year and got contributions from a lot of different guys. We've had a great trip, practicing at the Smith Center and scheduled for Cameron tomorrow and getting a win is a nice way to finish up."
Methodist (2-7) held a four-point lead (61-57) following a three-point play by Keith Corbett with 4:35 left to play. Corbett slammed home a miss by Desmond Parker and was fouled on the play, making good on the free throw for the Monarchs' largest lead of the second half. The play capped what had been an 11-1 run for MU. Tabias Hilliard sparked the charge with a three-point play of his own and finished with four points during the stretch.
Immediately after the Monarchs took the lead, Bo McKinley scored eight straight points for Connecticut, including back-to-back three-pointers, to push CC (5-4) back in front (65-61) by the 2:35 mark. T.J. Gill cut MU's deficit to a single point with a triple on the Monarchs' next possession, but Vadas countered with a pair of free throws for a three-point edge (67-64) with 1:43 on the clock. After Methodist once again pulled within a single point, Vadas split a pair of free throws with 1:08 on the clock that gave Connecticut a two-point edge (68-66).
However, McKinley came up with a steal on the ensuing possession and converted a layup at the other end for another four-point lead (70-66), this one with 52 seconds to play. Gill cut MU's deficit to one (70-69) with a three only to have Vadas answer with one of his own to keep it a four-point game with 18 seconds left. With five seconds to play, Corbett knocked down another shot from distance to pull within one (73-72), but Vadas calmly made a pair of free throws for a three-point lead, and Gill's three from the left wing at the buzzer was off the mark.
In the first half, MU scored eight of the game's first 10 points to take an 8-2 lead at the 17:08 mark. The Camels used an 8-2 run of their own to tie the game at 10-10 just under three minutes later on a triple by Mason Lopez. Methodist pushed back out to a six-point edge (20-14) on a jumper from Gill at the 9:33 mark and still held a five-point lead (29-24) with 3:10 left in the opening half.
Connecticut closed the opening 20 minutes on a 10-3 spurt to assume a 34-32 lead at the break. Lopez drilled a pair of free throws before a triple by McKinley, two free-throws from Vadas and a three by Rob Harrigan 30 seconds before the buzzer sounded gave CC the two-point lead at the break.
For the game, Methodist shot 48.1 percent from the field (26-54), but knocked down just 3-of-13 three-pointers (.231). Connecticut shot 46.3 percent from the floor (25-54), but drilled 14-of-29 shots from long range (.483). The Monarchs held a 36-26 edge on the boards.
Hockaday led MU with 17 points and now needs just five points for 1,000 in his career. He also added 13 rebounds and three blocks. Hilliard and Gill each scored 13, and Parker chipped in 10. Hilliard also had eight rebounds, five assists and four steals.
Vadas connected on 8-of-17 shots from the floor, including 5-of-10 from distance, en route to his game-high 28. He has scored 1434 points in his prolific playing career for the Camels. McKinley finished with 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting, and Lopez scored 12 points. Zuri Pavlin pulled down a team-high six rebounds.