The Hobart basketball team used suffocating defensive pressure in the first half to pull away from Vassar and held off a charge by the Brewers early in the second frame on the way to a 68-53 Liberty League victory. The Statesmen snapped a five-game slide to improve to 4-10, 1-2 in the conference, while Vassar falls to 5-8, 0-2.
Hobart limited the visitors to just 18.5 percent shooting in the first half, while the Statesmen knocked down half of their shots to build a 40-23 lead at the break. The Statesmen took control late in the opening stanza with a 29-4 run that erased a four-point Vassar lead. First-year forward Adam Salzmann added six points on a pair of threes and finished with 13 points and a game-high 15 rebounds.
Hobart led 40-23 at halftime.
Vassar refused to go down without a fight, opening the half on a 10-2 run to creep within six, 42-36, with 14:04 remaining. Senior guard Brian Butterworth drained back-to-back threes to spark the run. He finished with a team-high 12 points.
Salzmann and Butterworth traded baskets to raise the score to 44-38 with 10:52 to go. Hobart then scored five straight points to increase its lead to 11 and pushed its lead into double digits for good on a three by Pebole at the 6:02 mark.
Sophomore guard Mark Bruce joined Pebole and Salzmann in double figures with 12 points and a game-high six assists.
Joe Davis and Casey Black notched 11 and 10 points, respectively, for the Brewers.
Hobart is back in action at 8 p.m. on Jan. 23, when the Statesmen host Skidmore, while Vassar returns to the hardwood at 8 p.m. on Jan. 20, when the Brewers host RPI.