Johnson topples Lyndon in matchup of NAC rivals

JOHNSON, Vt. – The Johnson State College men's basketball team earned a hard-fought 71-62 North Atlantic Conference victory over visiting Lyndon.  The win gives Johnson an 8-12 overall record and a mark of 6-7 in the NAC, while Lyndon slides to 9-10 overall and 8-5 in conference play.

The Badgers put five players in double-figures led by Bryan Hickey who scored 14 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Cory Chase added 13 points and six boards and Asim Khan had 13 points and five rebounds. Josh Reed drilled four second-half 3-pointers en route to a 12-point effort and sophomore guard Ron Adrian supplied 10 points and a team-best three steals.

Lyndon was led by Jose Fortunato (Boston, Mass.) who recorded game-highs of 17 points and seven assists to go with seven rebounds and three steals. Jason Gray (East Thetford, Vt.) had 16 points and nine rebounds while George Carle (Central Falls, R.I.) chipped in with 13 points.

Johnson State raced out to an early 10-point lead at 15-5 following a lay-up by Edwin Meregildo with 13:20 left in the first half.  With the Badgers leading 19-10 minutes later Lyndon would rally with a 19-6 surge capped by a jumper by Gray with 1:58 to go in the stanza and would eventually take a 29-27 advantage into the locker room at halftime.

The teams would trade baskets over the first several minutes of the second half.  With Johnson leading 39-38 with 13:20 left in the game Lyndon went on a 10-2 push starting with a dunk by Gray and ending with a lay-in by Fortunato to grab their largest lead of the day at 48-41. 

The Badgers showed resolve and received big shot after big shot from Reed as they chipped away and caught the Hornets at 56-56 when Reed connected on his third 3-pointer of the half.  His fourth, moments later and coming on the heels of a Hickey lay-up, gave JSC a 61-56 lead with 3:14 left in the contest. A pair of Adrian free throws grew the lead to seven for Johnson as the hosts were able to close out the game with enough stops and free throws for the 71-62 final.

For the game Johnson shot 52 percent (27-52) from the field compared to LSC's 45 percent (26-58) day and earned a 30-26 rebounding advantage.