It took a while for the Hobart College basketball team to shake the pesky squad from Union College today, but a 13-2 run late in the second half gave the Statesmen the separation they needed to post an 88-68 Liberty League win in Bristol Gym today. Hobart’s fourth win in a row raises its overall record to 11-3 (3-0 in the conference), matching the best start by a Statesmen squad since the 1978-79 team also went 11-3.
The Statesmen used an 8-0 run to build the largest lead of the first half, 20-14 with 12:32 to go, but the Dutchmen (8-6, 0-3) countered with seven unanswered points to go back in front by one. A nip-and-tuck first half saw the lead change hands 15 times and 13 ties. Hobart took a 45-41 lead into the locker room thanks to five straight points by sophomore guard Stefan Thompson (2-2 FT) and junior forward Matt Pebole (3-pointer).
After the break, Union stayed within a couple of possessions of the Hobart until the Statesmen launched their decisive run. Clinging to a 59-58 lead, senior guard Tim Llewellyn scored on a jumper, notched a steal, and assisted on a layup by first-year guard Trevor Short. A tip-in by Union’s sophomore forward Keven Donohue briefly slowed Hobart’s momentum, but the Statesmen countered with nine straight points to build a 72-60 lead with 7:51 remaining.
Donohue netted four straight points to get the Dutchmen within eight, but senior guard Mark Bruce drilled a 3-pointer to push the Hobart advantage back into double digits for good.
In the end, the Statesmen used their depth to wear Union down. Hobart’s bench held a 36-13 scoring advantage. The Statesmen also took care of the basketball, committing just seven turnovers and outscoring the Dutchmen 25-4 in points off turnovers. Both teams shot well from the floor (.492 for Hobart to .446 for Union), but the Statesmen got it done at the free throw line, making their first 13 of the contest and finishing 16-of-19.
Pebole led Hobart with 17 points, while Bruce added 14. Short and Llewellyn chipped in 11 and 10 points, respectively. Thompson had nine points, all from the line, as well as game-highs of eight assists (one more than Llewellyn) and four steals (also one better than the senior).
Senior forward Matt Covucci paced Union with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Donohue also posted a double-double on 13 points and a game-high 11 boards. Sophomore guard Evan Croll contributed 11 points for the Dutchmen.
Hobart will head out on the road for its next contest, visiting Vassar on Jan. 21. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. Union will stay on the road, playing at the same time at St. Lawrence.