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Vassar Fends Off Men's Basketball

Vassar Fends Off Men's Basketball

HARTFORD, Conn. – Sophomore John Mrlik (San Francisco, Calif.) poured in 23 points, hitting six of nine shots from the field, four of seven from long range, and all seven of his free throws, to lead the Vassar College Brewers to a 60-54 win over the Wentworth Institute of Technology Leopards in the opening round of the Trinity College Men's Basketball Holiday Invitational this evening in Oosting Gymnasium. Vassar improves to 6-1 after an 0-1 start and will face the host Trinity Bantams in the finals tomorrow at Noon. Wentworth drops to 3-5 and will play the University of Maine-Fort Kent Bengals in the consolation game tomorrow at 2 p.m. Trinity downed Maine-Fort Kent in the other first round game tonight, 84-45.

Vassar scored seven of the final nine points of the first half to turn a 26-all tie into a 33-28 lead at the break. Junior guard Curtis Smith (Mastic, N.Y.) drilled a three-pointer with less than 10 seconds on the clock for the Brewers. Mrlik had 16 of his points in the opening 20 minutes and senior tri-captain Derek Mayo (Casco, Maine) had 12 of his career-high 28 points at halftime for Wentworth.

The Leopards fought back and took a 38-37 lead four minutes into the second half on a traditional three-point play by Mayo. After a Vassar turnover and a put-back by Mayo gave the Leopards a 40-37 lead, junior forward Luke Ladan (Belmont, Mass.) scored on a layup and Mrlik made a three-pointer to give Vassar back the lead for good. Wentworth cut its deficit to a single point three more times the rest of the way but Vassar held them off each time. Leopard junior forward John-Michael Fragnoli (Scotia, N.Y.) scored off an offensive rebound to make the score, 56-54, inside the final minute, but Ladan answered with a bucket for Vassar and the Leopards misfired on two long three-pointers down the stretch.

Vassar more than doubled Wentworth's rebounding total with 50 against just 23 for the Leopards and held Wentworth to 32.8 percent shooting from the field, but committed 21 turnovers. Ladan joined Mrlik in double figures in scoring for Vassar with 13 points and added five rebounds, while senior tri-captain forward Evan Carberry (Metuchen, N.J.) grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds, junior forward Alex Snyder (Rutland, Vt.) added 10 boards, and sophomore guard Erikson Wayl (Durham, Conn.) dished out five assists. Mayo added seven boards and three steals to his 28 points for Wentworth. Fragnoli and sophomore Ronnie Turner (Lewiston, Maine) had six points apiece.