Lyndonville, VT - The Northern Vermont University-Lyndon men's basketball team built a 16-point second half advantage before Maine Maritime Academy came all the way back to pick up a 70-69 North Atlantic conference victory on Sunday afternoon. The win lifts Maine Maritime to 5-2 overall and 2-0 in NAC play, while Lyndon falls to 2-6 on the season and 0-2 in conference.
After the two teams battled on even terms during the early going, the Hornets gradually took control. Maine Maritime held a 9-8 lead 4:45 into the contest, but Lyndon went on a 28-12 run over the next 14 minutes, capped by a Corey Frost (Hamden, CT) three-pointer, to make it 36-21 Hornets with 1:31 to go in the opening half. Maine Maritime scored the last two baskets of the half to send the teams into the break with Lyndon leading by 11.
After Maine Maritime's Riley Jorgenson drained a three to open the second half, Lyndon went on a 13-5 run, with another Frost three making it 49-33 Lyndon with 15:38 remaining. Lyndon still led by 16, 54-38, with 14:28 to go. The Hornets would go scoreless over the next 3:40 and turn the ball over three times over that stretch, allowing the Mariners to pull within eight, 54-46, with 11:13 to go. Maine Maritime continued to chip away, and Jorgenson's three followed by a layup gave Maine Maritime their first lead, 61-60, with 5:29 to go. Jorgenson converted another layup to make it 63-60 at the five minute mark.
Lyndon's Kevin Love (Bristol, CT) then converted a pair of free throws to cut the margin back to one. The Mariners answered when Adam Richarson found a cutting Andrew Liebert to put the lead back at three. Liebert returned the favor by finding Richardson, and Maine Maritime had a 67-62 advantage with 2:31 to go.
Frost found Damon Denteh (Jamica, NY) to cut the margin back to three. CJ Jimmy (Modesto, CA) then forced a Mariner turnover, and when Jahleel Gabriel (Springfield, MA) collected an offensive rebound and kicked out to an open Denteh, the junior drained the three to tie the game with 1:13 remaining.
On the next posession, Richardson rebounded a missed layup, then drove and scored, drawing a foul in the process. He converted the free throw to put the Mariners in front, 70-67, with 15 seconds to go. Zach Falkenburg (Kirkville, NY) then drove all the way to the basket to score and make it a one-point game. Lyndon produced two near steals on the ensuing inbounds before Falkenburg drew an offensive foul to give Lyndon the ball back with a chance to win the game. Unfortunately for the Hornets, they turned the ball over on the final posession and Maine Maritime escaped with the one-point win.
Jorgenson and Richardson paced Maine Maritime with 23 and 20 points respectively. Richardson also collected seven rebounds and dished out seven assists. Liebert chipped in 14 points off the bench. Denteh and Love led the way for Lyndon, scoring 14 points each. Love added eight rebounds while Denteh recorded six assists. Frost totalled 11 points and Falkenburg reached double figures with ten.
The Hornets will travel to Maine next weekend for a pair of NAC contests. They will play at Thomas College on Friday evening at 5:30 pm, before taking on UMaine-Farmington on Saturday at 1:00 pm.