The Hobart College basketball team defeated Union College 85-82 in double overtime. The win gave Hobart Head Coach Mike Neer his 600th career victory and kept the Statesmen in first place in the Liberty League, a game and a half ahead of the Dutchmen.
Neer is the 14th coach in NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball history to reach 600 career wins. Among active coaches, he is currently 6th in career wins. Hobart senior Stefan Thompson scored a career-high 30 points and became just the seventh Statesman to record 1,500 career points (He has 1,527). Hobart junior Richie Bonney scored 16 points before fouling out with 1:11 left in regulation. He became the 25th Statesman to record 1,000 career points (He has 1,001).
Union (17-4, 9-3) held the lead for most of the first half, breaking a 26-26 tie with an 11-5 run over the final 4:08 of the opening stanza. Union senior Keven Donohue had four of his 18 first half points during the surge. The Dutchmen shot 55.2 percent from the floor in the opening 20 minutes and held the Statesmen to 43.3 percent shooting with Bonney on the bench with foul trouble for a good chunk of time. Thompson scored 12 first half points-including a 3-pointer at 14:26 that put him over the 1,500-point mark-to lead Hobart.
Senior Joe Mason hit a 3-pointer early in the second half to give Union its largest lead of the game, 44-35 with 16:49 left. Five minutes later a traditional 3-point play by Joe Gibbons cut the Dutchmen lead to just two, 50-48, but Union pulled away and, after a pair of Donohue free throws, led 68-61 with 4:27 to go. Bonney started the comeback, taking a pass from the right wing from senior Rezin Davis and using a spin move to his left to get a layup and put him over the 1,000-point mark. Union still led 70-67 entering the final minute of regulation, but Thompson sank a pair of free throws with 50 seconds left to make it a one-point game. Donohue missed a layup at the other end of the floor and junior Joe Gibbons grabbed the carom for Hobart. Donohue was then whistle for a blocking foul that sent Thompson to the line with 11.8 seconds left in regulation. After missing the first, he converted the second to tie the game. Union got caught in a double team trap on the baseline at its end of the floor and was unable to get off a shot before time expired.
In the first overtime, Union scored the first four points of the session, but sophomore Connor Rehbaum made a 3-pointer with 1:16 left to trip the Dutchmen lead to 74-73. A Rehbaum steal led to a pair of free throws by Thompson that gave the Statesmen the lead with 45 seconds left. Hobart appeared to get a stop as senior Sean Peer grabbed a rebound off a Union miss, but the Dutchmen stole his pass attempt under the basket and Matt Petrone posted an old fashion 3-point play for a 77-75 Union lead. The Statesmen forced a second overtime on a jumper by Thompson with 8 seconds left. Union got off a shot at the buzzer, but it hit the side of the backboard.
Entering the final minute of the second overtime, the Dutchmen led by two, 82-80, thanks to two free throws by Donohue, but Thompson drained a 3-pointer with 34 seconds left for an 83-82 lead. After Union missed its look at the basket with under 10 seconds left, Rehbaum grabbed the rebound and was fouled. He made two free throws with 7 seconds remaining for a 3-point lead. Union took an off-balance 3 at the buzzer that caught the right side of the rim and bounded harmlessly away.
Gibbons added 14 points and Rehbaum finished with 11 for the Statesmen. Peer pulled down a career-high 17 rebounds to lead Hobart to a 43-32 advantage on the glass. The Statesmen shot 39.7 percent from the floor, their second worst shooting performance of the year, but made a season-high nine 3-pointers and converted 75.9 percent of their free throws.
Donohue played the entire 50 minutes for the Dutchmen and produced 28 points and 12 rebounds. Sophomore Terell Winney and senior Joe Mason (who fouled out with 3:13 left in regulation) chipped in 13 and 12 points, respectively. Union shot 50.8 percent from the floor, including 65 percent in the second half, but struggled at the charity stripe, making just 52 percent of its freebies. The Dutchmen made just 7-of-18 (.389) from the line in regulation.
Riding a six-game winning streak, Hobart will head out on the road for its next three games. The Statesmen’s first stop is at Vassar on Friday, Feb. 8 at 8 p.m. Union will also return to action on the same date and time, visiting Clarkson.