Hobart went the length of the floor in 3.1 seconds and senior Matt Pebole's layup beat the buzzer to lift the Statesmen to a 71-70 victory over the College at Brockport in the semifinals of the Wendy's College Classic at RIT tonight. The Statesmen remained unbeaten, improving to 5-0 for the first time since 1954-55, while the Golden Eagles fall to 1-4.
Pebole gave Hobart a 69-68 with a 3-pointer with just 33 seconds left in the contest. Gerald Williams put Brockport back in front on a jumper with 3.1 seconds remaining in the contest forcing the Statesmen to burn their final timeout.
Hobart Head Coach Mike Neer drew up the perfect play and the Statesmen executed even better. Sophomore Joe Gibbons inbounded the ball with a long pass across midcourt to classmate Richie Bonney who found Pebole. He took one dribble and elevated to the basket to complete his 17-point performance. He also had six rebounds, all three of Hobart's steals and two blocked shots.
Junior Stefan Thompson led the Statesmen with game-highs of 21 points and six assists. Bonney added his first double-double of the season on 11 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
Williams had 19 points, nine boards, and four assists to pace Brockport. Lance Legister and Green finished with 18 and 13 points, respectively.
The Golden Eagles outshot the Statesmen .444-.429, made more free throws than Hobart attempted (15-12), and committed fewer turnovers (9-11). The Statesmen controlled the paint 32-22, controlled the boards 38-30, and held an 18-8 advantage in second chance points.
Hobart took control of a back and forth first half with eight unanswered points in the final three minutes, carrying a 36-26 lead into halftime.
Brockport whittled away at the Statesmen lead throughout the second half, tying the game at 60 with just under four minutes to go. Setting the stage for the dramatic finish.
The win made Neer just the second Hobart coach to win his first five games with the Statesmen, tying the record established by Dr. George Sweetland '97, who won all four games in 1914-15 and won the 1915-16 season opener.
Hobart will play for the Wendy's championship for the first time since 1988-89. The Statesmen will face the winner of the second semifinal between Nazareth and Rochester. The title tilt is scheduled for 8 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3 at RIT.
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