February 14, 2013
The Continentals were deadlocked with Bates in the conference at 3-5 and 3-6 respectively heading into their matchup this Saturday in Lewiston, Maine. With NESCAC playoff seeding in the balance, this game was vital for both teams. Hamilton started off strongly, opening the contest on an 11-3 run. They shot an impressive 50% from the court in the first half, while Bates was held to only 39% shooting.
Sophomore Peter Kazickas got hot in the first half, dropping nine points without missing a shot, while the team assisted on eight of its 13 shots. Defensively, the Continentals shut down the three-point game of Bates, holding them to only two made threes on seven attempts. These factors contributed to the Continentals leading for the entirety of the first half, going into the break ahead with a score of 31-25.
Although they put forth a strong effort, the Continentals were unable to get a leg up on Bates. The Bobcats fought back in the second half, led by some absurd three-point shooting. They hit seven threes on 10 attempts while assisting on nine of their 11 made baskets in the half.
Bates took the lead for the first time with 10:39 left to play. The game went back and forth from there, coming to a tie at 49-49 with 4:12 left in the game. But after taking a five-point lead, the Continentals saw Bates hit back-to-back three pointers to take a 57-56 lead with 1:10 to play.
Neither team was able to make a shot from that point on, and after fouling intentionally, the Continentals missed a three point shot with three seconds left to tie the game. This resulted in a tough loss of 59-56.
Kazickas finished 6-7 from the field with 13 points, and fellow sophomore Bradley Gifford added 10 points and seven rebounds after scoring eight points in a row late in the game.
In relation to his team’s defense down the stretch, Head Coach Adam Stockwell commented, “getting just one stop in the last two minutes would have gone a long way towards changing the outcome. Bates deserves a lot of credit for making the game-winning plays on both ends down the stretch.”
With the loss, Hamilton fell to eighth place in the conference. The Continentals were scheduled to face Tufts on Sunday, but due to the weather, the game was postponed. If the regular season ended then, the Continentals would have faced top-ranked seed Amherst in the first round.
However, the Conts faced off against the number four Jumbos on Tuesday night in their last regular season game.
While Hamilton pulled within three points midway through the second half, Tufts’ dominated for a majority of the night. Four Jumbos scored in the double figures and the team shot from 39% behind the three-point arc.
Despite the loss, it was a strong final performance for Hamilton, with seniors Ken Click and Eric Benvenuti scoring a combined 21 points. The Continentals finish the 2012-13 season at ninth in the NESCAC Conference at 12-12. Still grappling with the switch to the formidable NESCAC, the team hopes to find a stronger footing in the conference next season.