First-year Carter Meshanic banked home a fadeaway jumper with 1.9 seconds remaining to give Hobart College a 69-68 lead with 1.9 seconds remaining, but Jack Rothenberg made a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to lift Vassar College to a 71-69 victory in the first round of the Liberty League Men’s Basketball Tournament.
Just minutes earlier, Rothenberg gave the Brewers a 64-58 lead with two and a half minutes remaining. First-year guard Aidan Rodgers answered with a layup at the other end of the floor and then the Statesmen defense dug in. Junior Jackson Meshanic blocked Vassar next shot and junior Patrick Walker collected the rebound and scored to make it a 2-point game with 90 seconds left.
Zach Johnson scored to push the home team back in front by four, 66-62, but Jackson Meshanic countered with a 3-pointer near the one-minute mark. After a Vassar timeout, Hobart fouled Johnson for a one-and-one, but he missed the front end and Jack Lesure secured the rebound. Carter Meshanic gave the Statesmen the lead with a driving layup near the 30-second mark.
Vassar missed a short jumper to reclaim the lead, but Johnson was there to collect the rebound and put up a layup for the 68-67 lead. A similar sequence played out at the other end of the floor with Rodgers missing a jumper and Carter Meshanic grabbing loose ball after the rebound was tipped out of the low post by Jackson Meshanic. Carter hit his last shot for the fourth lead change of the night. Unfortunately for the Statesmen there was one more lead change to come.
Carter Meshanic finished the night with a season and game-high 21 points on 10-of-14 shooting from the field. Jackson Meshanic added 14 points and a team-high nine rebounds. Rodgers chipped in 12 points.
Johnson led Vassar (16-8) with 20 points on 10-of-15 shooting. Avni Mustafaj recorded 19 points and a game-high 10 rebounds and Rothenberg contributed 18 points, including 3-of-5 from beyond the arc.
The Brewers, who led 31-28 at halftime, built the largest lead of the game for either side midway through the second half. With the game tied at 39, Vassar scored 10 straight points and used a 15-2 run to take a 54-41 lead with nine minutes left.
Hobart (12-14) rallied with a 13-2 run to set up the drama of the final minute. Carter Meshanic led the surge with six points.