No. 5 men's basketball pulls away from Ithaca in 2nd half

Spencer Kendall '21 (Josh McKee photo)
Spencer Kendall '21 (Josh McKee photo)

Hamilton College shot better than 50 percent from the field for the seventh time in 11 games this season and the nationally ranked No. 5 Continentals posted a 92-77 victory against the Ithaca College Bombers in the 2018 Land of Magic Classic at Embry-Riddle University's ICI Center on Saturday night.

Hamilton (11-0 overall) has won 35 of its last 40 games since the start of last season. The Continentals made 51.4 percent of their shots and used their size advantage to rack up a 58-33 cushion on the glass. Hamilton outscored Ithaca 56-26 in the paint and 16-4 on second-chance opportunities.

Kena Gilmour '20 led the Continentals in scoring for the second straight night with 17 points and added five assists and two blocked shots. Spencer Kendall '21 dropped in a career-high 16 points and blocked two shots in 20 minutes off the bench. Peter Hoffmann '19 chipped in 13 points, Andrew Groll '19 was a perfect 4 of 4 from the field and finished with eight points, and Michael Grassey '19 grabbed 10 boards.

The Bombers' Sebastian Alderete led all scorers with 21 points. Matt Flood drained four 3-pointers and ended up with 16 points, Riley Thompson added 12 points and three steals, and Peter Ezema pulled down a team-best eight rebounds. Ithaca (4-4) shot just 32.4 percent but stayed in the game by going 23-for-27 (85.2 percent) at the free-throw line.

Hamilton led by seven twice early in the first half at 9-2 and 14-7. The Bombers responded with an 11-1 run and two free throws by Bryan Karl gave Ithaca an 18-15 edge with 11:42 left in the first half. The Bombers led by three points twice more at 20-17 on two free throws by Thompson and at 22-19 on two shots at the charity stripe by George Sikoryak III with 8:54 remaining.

The Continentals took the lead for good on three consecutive layups by Kendall. The third one -- on a pass from Tim Doyle '19 -- put Hamilton up 25-22 with 7:19 to go. Ithaca was still within four at 36-32 after two free throws by Alderete with 3:23 left but the Continentals ended the half with an 8-2 spurt. Kendall made a layup, a free throw and a dunk, and Mark Lutz '20 nailed a 3-pointer with just under a minute remaining for a 44-34 lead. Kendall had 12 points and Alderete had 15 at the break, and the Bombers went 12-for-15 at the line.

Ithaca didn't get closer than seven points twice early in the second half. Hamilton recorded its first 20-point lead after an old-fashioned 3-point play by Sayo Denloye '20 made it 80-59 with 6:15 to go. Gilmour's basket in the paint gave the Continentals their largest lead of the night of 22 points at 86-64 with 3:41 left. Hamilton was 19 of 27 on 2-point shot attempts in the second half.

The Continentals return home to Margaret Bundy Scott Field House on Thursday, Jan. 3 for a special weekday matinee against non-conference foe Keene State College at 1:30 p.m.