NEW LONDON, Conn. – The Mitchell College men's basketball team opened the 2011-12 season with a dramatic 60-59 victory over The City College of New York on Tuesday night at the Yarnall Athletic Center.
Sophomore Alex Del Rio put the Mariners ahead with a floater off the glass with eight seconds to play. CCNY had one final look just before the buzzer, but a fade-away baseline jumper by Hector Hernandez was off the mark. Freshman Joshua Ford grabbed the rebound to clinch the win for the Mariners (1-0 overall).
Senior Paul Jefferson scored 11 of his team-high 14 points in the second half to pace Mitchell. Del Rio also finished in double figures with 13 points and added seven rebounds. Hernandez was one of four CCNY players to finish with 10 points and added six rebounds.
The lead changed hands five times over the final 2:39 of the contest. The Mariners took a 58-56 lead on a three-pointer by Jefferson with 56 ticks left on the clock, but the Beavers went back ahead with 23 seconds remaining on a lay-up by Israel Vickers. After CCNY called a timeout, Mitchell set up the final play and ran Del Rio off a high screen at the top of the key. He turned the corner against his defender and dropped a runner off the window for the go-ahead bucket.
Mitchell shot 39 percent for the game but missed 19 of its first 20 three-point attempts before finishing 4-for-25 from long range. The Mariners, who led 27-26 at the half, overcame 21 turnovers and held a 44-39 edge on the glass. Ford was solid in his collegiate debut, finishing with eight points and a team-high 10 rebounds.
CCNY (0-1 overall) shot 36 percent from the floor and 23 percent from downtown. Vickers, Brandon Reeves and Gabriel McFarlane each contributed 10 points while Derell Williams chipped in with eight points and a game-high 12 rebounds.
Mitchell will next host St. Joseph's College (Brooklyn) on Friday, November 18 at 6 p.m.