JOHNSON, Vt. — The Northern Vermont University-Johnson men's basketball team defeated Northern Vermont University-Lyndon 78-76 in a North Atlantic Conference (NAC) matchup on Saturday afternoon at Carter Gymnasium. The Badgers improve to 1-15 overall and 1-6 in NAC play, while the Hornets move to 2-16 overall and 0-7 in conference play.
The Badgers were led by sophomore Robert Dubose (Philadelphia, PA) with 23 points and seven rebounds. Johnson also received 16 points, five assists, and three rebounds from Vernon Slater (Washington, D.C.), and 15 points and five rebounds from Winston Jones (Los Angeles, CA). The Hornets were led by Zach Falkenburg with 25 points on 8-13 shooting, five assists, and four rebounds. Lyndon also received double-digit scoring from Damon Denteh with 12 points and Ricky Shuford with 10 points and four rebounds.
Johnson jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead after made shots by Jones and senior Slater. Lyndon answered with a 5-2 run of their own to bring the game within two before the Badgers stormed out to a 14-5 lead over Lyndon powered by freshman Lawson Ouellette. The Hornets closed the lead to two points before a made three-three-point shot by freshman Tyrese Smith (Tamarac, FL) pushed the lead back to 20-16. The Hornets continued to battle with Johnson in the final minutes of the first frame, taking the lead with 33 seconds remaining in the half after a layup by Falkenburg, taking a 35-35 advantage over the Badgers entering the final frame.
Johnson and Lyndon continued to battle in the opening minutes of the second half, leading to multiple lead changes in the first five minutes due to made shots by Johnson's Robert Dubose (Philadelphia, PA) and Lyndon's Ricky Shuford. The Hornets extended their lead to 9 with 11:49 remaining after a made three-point shot before a made layup by Donell Shaw (Washington, D.C.) cut the lead to seven. Johnson continued to control the game through the second half before made free throws by Falkenburg cut the Badgers' lead to 70-68 with 2:53 remaining. Falkenburg continued to be aggressive as he got to the line the next two possessions for the Hornets going 3-4. A layup from senior Donell Shaw (Washington, D.C.) gave the Badgers a 76-71 lead but the Hornets did not quit. Falkenburg and the Hornets transitioned down the floor and knocked down a quick three that resulted in a timeout by NVU-Lyndon to regroup on the defensive end. A turnover coming out of the timeout for the Badgers resulted in a layup by Jahleel Gabriel to tie the knot at 76 a piece. With the Badgers the control of possession with just 21 seconds left in regulation the ball was in the hands of senior point guard Slater. Slater attacked downhill and rose up for a shot in traffic for the go-ahead basket. The Hornets had one opportunity left with two secods remaining but came up short with a shot attempt from mid court.
The Northern Vermont University-Johnson Men's basketball team will travel to SUNY Canton on Friday, January 25th to face off against the Kangaroos in a North Atlantic Conference matchup.