Defense leads No. 3 men's basketball to win at Utica

Kena Gilmour '20 (Ryan Murray photo)
Kena Gilmour '20 (Ryan Murray photo)

Hamilton College's Kena Gilmour '20 led all players with 21 points and the nationally ranked No. 3 Continentals posted a 73-58 non-conference win against the Utica College Pioneers at Utica's Clark Athletic Center Gymnasium on Thursday night.

Gilmour leads Hamilton (6-0 overall) with 20.5 points per game. He added seven rebounds, three assists and three steals against the Pioneers.

Peter Hoffmann '19 chipped in 12 points, three assists and three steals for the Continentals. Michael Grassey '19 scored 11 points and Mark Lutz '20 had 10 off the bench. Spencer Kendall '21 was perfect on four shot attempts for eight points and Nick Osarenren '22 blocked two shots.

Hamilton, which is shooting better than 50 percent from the floor for the season, recorded a field goal percentage of 52.6 percent. The Continentals held a commanding 50-24 advantage in points in the paint.

Tyler Jollie and Kobe Lufkin paced Utica with 10 points apiece. Justin Strielkauskas contributed nine points and a game-high eight boards. The Pioneers shot just 30 percent from the floor.

Utica (4-1) held a 39-38 edge at the break and the score was still tied at 51-51 after a 3-pointer by the Pioneers' Darius Hopkins midway through the second half. There were seven ties and 13 lead changes during the first 30 minutes.

A layup by Gilmour with 10:16 left started a 20-3 run that covered nearly the next eight minutes. Lutz followed with an old-fashioned 3-point play but Jollie cut Utica's deficit to two points again at 56-54 on a basket from long range with 8:20 remaining.

Lutz went 1-for-2 at the free-throw line and a steal and fast-break layup by Hoffmann made it 59-54 with 7:10 to go. Lutz buried a trifecta from the right wing with 6:38 left and another steal and layup by Gilmour gave Hamilton its first double-digit lead at 64-54 with 5:52 remaining. Gilmour scored in the paint a minute later and then took a pass from Hoffmann and laid it in all in one motion with 3:49 to go. A basket by Hoffmann and a Gilmour free throw capped the spurt with 2:23 left and the Continentals leading 71-54.

The Pioneers committed five turnovers and were 1 of 11 from the field during Hamilton's surge. Utica shot 20.7 percent from the floor over the final 20 minutes.

Neither team led by more than five points until the Continentals went on their game-ending run. Lufkin scored nine of his 10 points in the first half as Utica built its one-point lead going into the locker room.

Hamilton aims to extend its season-opening win streak to seven games on Saturday, Dec. 1 when the Continentals travel to Johnson & Wales University for another non-conference game at 3 p.m.