In college basketball, often times free throw shooting is the deciding factor between evenly matched teams. A week ago, Rochester beat Hobart 80-77 by making 75 percent of its freebies compared to 68.8 percent for the Statesmen.
In today’s rematch of that Wendy’s College Classic semifinal, Hobart turned the tables with a record-setting performance at the line. The Statesmen prevailed 86-78 by making all 22 of its free throw attempts, eclipsing the program standard for free throw percentage in a game (previously .947 at Vassar on Jan. 26, 2007).
Sophomore guard Stefan Thompson led the way with a game-high 28 points, including a 16-for-16 showing at the charity stripe. He also dished out a game-high six assists. Junior forward Matt Pebole added 23 points, including three three-pointers and four free throws, while sophomore guard Rezin Davis added 12 points, knocking down 4-of-5 from beyond the arc. First-year forward Richie Bonney scored eight points and collected a game-high 10 rebounds. He was the only other Statesman to toe the free throw line today, making his two chances.
Nate Novosel led four Yellowjackets in double figures with 23 points. Rob Reid and David Gould each contributed 12 points, while Mike Labanowski scored 10 points.
Rochester (7-3) shot the lights out in the first half (63.6%), but still trailed 37-34 at the break. Hobart (6-2) was able to seize the lead thanks to a 12-2 advantage in points off turnovers. The Statesmen committed just three turnovers in the first half, while the Yellowjackets made nine miscues.
Thompson started the second half scoring with a three, but Rochester rattled off 10 straight points, including five from Novosel, to take a four-point lead. It was still a four-point Rochester lead after DiBartolomeo’s jumper at the 16:05 mark, but Davis and first-year guard Blair Helton scored three-pointers on consecutive trips down the floor and Thompson sank two free throws to make it a four-point Hobart lead with 14:49 left.
Novosel’s layup at 9:16 trimmed Hobart’s lead to 58-57, but Thompson went 4-for-4 from the line over the next minute to keep the Statesmen in front.
After Hobart stretched its lead to seven, Labanowski converted a rare four-point play to get the Yellowjackets within three. They would get no closer.
Pebole hit from downtown and Bonney drained both of his free throw attempts to give Hobart an eight-point margin, 71-63, with 3:11 remaining. Rochester trailed by at least six the rest of the way.
The victory ended an 11-game losing streak to Rochester and marked the first time the Statesmen won at Rochester since Jan. 14, 2000.
Hobart will be back in action on Dec. 29, when they visit California Lutheran. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. PT (9 p.m. ET).