CLINTON – Hamilton College coach Adam Stockwell had to figure it would be tougher sledding for his nationally-ranked men’s basketball team once the unbeaten Continentals opened New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) play.

But a last-second win at home? After trailing by as many as 16 points?

Despite the happy ending, that was a bit too close for comfort.

"Hopefully," Stockwell said on Monday, "it was a little bit of a wakeup call for us."

Thanks in the end to senior center Andrew Groll’s bucket with just 0.8 seconds remaining, "it" was a 72-70, come-from-behind victory over Trinity College in Sunday’s NESCAC opener at Margaret Bundy Scott Field House.

Now, at 13-0 overall, fifth-ranked Hamilton is two wins away from matching last year’s 15-0 start.

There were, however, some lessons to be learned from Sunday’s conference opener – and for that matter, last week’s 85-80 nonconference win over Keene State.

"For our opponents, it’s extra motivation," Stockwell said of his team’s top-5 ranking and perfect record. "We’re going to have to be ready for that every single game. Our guys should know that by now, but it certainly didn’t seem that way in the first 10 minutes or so (Sunday).

"The result was good, obviously, but there’s a lot we can learn from that game. We’ve got to be more ready to play. We’ve got to pay more attention to the details."

Last Thursday, junior guard Kena Gilmour scored 28 points and Hamilton never trailed against Keene State, but the Continentals still needed Gilmour’s four free throws in the final 21 seconds to nail down that win.

"It was good to have a close game and have to fight through it," Stockwell said. "You can look back at that now and say, ‘Maybe that helped us (Sunday).’"

Trinity (0-2 NESCAC, 9-5 overall) led 19-4 and 22-6 before Gilmour scored Hamilton’s next eight points.

Senior Michael Grassey the Continentals with 16 points and 11 rebounds, Gilmour added 15 points and Sayo Denloye gave them a lift off the bench, scoring 12 points in 19 minutes.

But it was the 6-foot-7 Groll – he finished with 15 points and eight rebounds – who drew rave reviews from his coach, especially with his performance down the stretch, when he was playing with four fouls.

"He just kept fighting," Stockwell said. "He gave us a chance with the extra possessions that he kept giving us. He kept us in the game and got the bucket to win it."

That game-winning possession started with only 10 seconds remaining, but the Continentals found Groll open down on the block and the right-handed center broke the 70-70 tie with a nifty left-handed post move.

Hamilton made 7 of 21 shots from 3-point range and missed 13 free throws, and the Continentals – who had averaged 97 points in their previous six games – were held to a season-low 72 points.

"Trinity’s always physical and tough," Stockwell said. "They wanted to play a half-court game and they did. … Trinity’s known for being tough and physical and making you grind out every possession."

Hamilton has four scorers averaging double figures – Gilmour (20.6), Grassey (13.8), Peter Hoffmann (11.2) and Tim Doyle (10.2). The Continentals hit the road this weekend for NESCAC games at Wesleyan University and Connecticut College on Friday and Saturday, respectively.

 

Whitesboro's Gregory leads

SUNY Poly to victory

Former Whitesboro High School star Josh Gregory scored 26 points and led SUNY Polytechnic Institute to a 75-65 nonconference road win over Alfred State on Monday.

Gregory shot 7 for 10 from the floor, 4 for 5 from 3-point range and 8 for 11 from the free throw line to help the Wildcats snap a three-game skid.

Guard Redell Freeman scored 20 points and Peyton Griffiths had 10 points, eight rebounds and six assists for SUNY Poly, now 3-9 overall and travelling to Keuka College on Wednesday night.

• Utica College will look to end a three-game losing streak this weekend when the Pioneers travel to Alfred and Houghton for Empire 8 games Friday and Saturday, respectively. UC is 0-2 in the Empire 8 and 6-5 overall.

 

SUNY Poly, Morrisville St.

women post road wins

Molly Burdick had 17 points and 15 rebounds and Camden's Kiersten Leos also scored 17 points to lead SUNY Polytechnic Institute's women's basketball team to a 76-56 win in Monday's nonconference game at Alfred State.

Holland Patent's Shannon Harrison came off the bench to hit three 3s and score 11 points for SUNY Poly, 8-4 overall and visiting Keuka College on Wednesday.

• Tori Rockefeller scored 22 points and Morrisville State College used a late 12-6 run to rally past SUNY Canton 60-59 on Monday night. The Mustangs are 2-9 overall.

Frankfort-Schuyler graduate Billie Rivenburgh had six points and nine rebounds for Canton (2-10).