Men's basketball improves to 8-0 with home win over Bard

Kena Gilmour '20 (Josh McKee photo)
Kena Gilmour '20 (Josh McKee photo)

Hamilton College's Kena Gilmour '20 poured in a season-high 23 points and the Continentals squeezed out an 89-83 men's basketball win against the Bard College Raptors in non-conference action at Hamilton's Margaret Bundy Scott Field House on Saturday afternoon.

The Continentals are 8-0 for the first time since they started the 2005-06 season with the same record. Hamilton is averaging better than 95 points per game and shooting 49 percent from the field, including 40.5 percent from 3-point range.

Gilmour, who leads the team in scoring at 17.3 per contest, was 9 of 12 from the field and added nine rebounds. Peter Hoffmann '19 chipped in 17 points and nine boards, including seven on the offensive glass. Michael Grassey '19 dropped in 13 points, Joe Pucci '18 scored 11 and made three steals, and Vince Conn '20 contributed 10 points in just 13 minutes off the bench. Andrew Groll '19 just missed a double-double off the bench with nine points and 11 rebounds, and Tim Doyle '19 handed out five assists. The Continentals scored 31 points off 21 Bard turnovers.

Alijah Rue paced the Raptors (2-7 overall) with 35 points, five steals and three assists. Rue was 14 of 19 from the floor, including 7 of 8 from beyond the arc. David Runcie scored 21 points before he fouled out late in the second half and Justyn Rogers posted a double-double with 15 points and 14 rebounds.

Hamilton led for most of the afternoon including 63-53 after an old-fashioned three-point play by Conn with 12:03 left in the second half. Bard roared back with a 12-2 run and forced the only tie of the entire game. Rogers started the spurt with a layup and Runcie followed with a steal and dunk. Rogers added a basket in the paint and Runcie had a three-point play that pulled the Raptors within one at 63-62. After a pair of free throws by Groll, Rue drained a 3-pointer that tied the score at 65-65 with 9:40 remaining.

The Continentals immediately responded with 10 straight points and led the rest of the way. Hoffmann and Grassey made one free throw apiece, Hoffmann scored in the paint, and Doyle stole the ball and put down a thunderous dunk. Another Bard turnover led to a fast-break layup by Gilmour and the Raptors called for a timeout with 6:33 to go. On the next possession, Gilmour blocked a shot at one end and made a layup at the other for a 75-65 cushion with 5:59 left.

Bard refused to go away and even cut Hamilton's lead to three points twice in the final minute. A three-point play by Runcie made it 83-80 with 52 seconds remaining. Gilmour made the second of two free throws and Pucci knocked in both of his for an 86-80 advantage with 19 ticks to go. Rue nailed a deep 3-pointer a few seconds later and pulled the Raptors within 86-83. Gilmour was fouled on the next possession and made a free throw and, after one last Bard turnover, Gilmour was awarded a basket on a goaltending call just before the final horn sounded. Runcie scored 15 points and Gilmour had 14 during the final 20 minutes.

The Raptors jumped out to an 8-0 lead and led 10-2 a little more than two minutes into the first half. The Continentals countered with 14 points in a row and Bard didn't lead again. Gilmour scored seven points during the run.

Hamilton held a slim 25-20 advantage midway through the first half when the Continentals went on a 12-2 spurt and took their largest lead of 15 points. Conn started the run with consecutive layups, Pucci made a pair of shots from long range, and Grassey's basket in the paint made it 37-22 with 6:47 left. Hamilton went up by 15 again at 44-29 after a Conn 3-pointer with 4:16 remaining.

The Raptors rallied with 16 points in the final four minutes of the half and closed to within 50-45 at the break. Rue led Bard in the first half with 23 points as he made all five of his 3-point attempts.

The Continentals don't return to the court until they face Lebanon Valley College on Saturday, Dec. 30 at the Roosevelt's 21st Greyhound Classic hosted by Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pa.