Posted by Audrey Nelson
The men's basketball team tied for the longest game in NCAA history on Nov. 23 in its away game against Southern Vermont with seven overtimes. The Thoroughbreds won 128-123, setting a record for the longest game in NCAA Division III history. The previous division record was five overtimes, accomplished four times.
"We were just grinding it out. I mean the kids stepped up. It's remarkable," Skidmore coach, Joe Burke said.
The game tied for longest match with only two other games in NCAA history. On Dec. 21, 1981, The University of Cincinnati beat Bradley University, setting a seven-overtime record in Division I. For the Division II record, Black Hills beat Yankton on Feb. 18, 1956.
The teams were tied at 59-59 after regulation and by the final whistle had combined for 166 rebounds, marking another NCAA all-division record. Junior John Mantas put 27 points on the board for Skidmore, while teammate Melvis Langyintuo '12 scored 18 points and made 21 rebounds.
Southern Vermont's Taeshon Johnson ‘12 scored 39 points, and senior Lance Spratling added 31 for the Mountaineers. Spratling played for all 75 minutes, another record in this historic marathon. Burke said of Spratling in an interview with The Associated Press, "He's an incredible athlete. He still had some pop in his step at the end. Unbelievable."
Langyintuo sent a game-tying free-throw with one second left in the first overtime, setting the game into the second overtime. The Mountaineers pushed the game into its third overtime, and Skidmore's Jeff Altimar '11 kept the Thoroughbreds alive with 10 remaining seconds on the clock to send the game into its fourth overtime. Junior Terron Victoria took the teams into the fifth overtime with a shot in the final two seconds of the period.
A scoreless fifth OT led to the sixth, where Southern Vermont stayed ahead until first-year Eli Johnston scored his only points of the game with a 3-pointer in the remaining 10 seconds to send the match to its final OT. The Thoroughbreds put up 16 points in the last period for the five point win.
In an interview on ESPN's First Take, Burke said, "I kept telling the guys after every overtime this is why you play the game, this is fun. And I think by about the 5th or 6th overtime, they started looking at me like I was crazy. I believe it was in the 6th overtime I told them, is it thanksgiving yet? And they all got a chuckle out of it."
"It was completely a battle of wills and both teams refused to give in," Burke said. "We won the game, but really there are no losers in a game like that. Both teams played till complete exhaustion." The Thoroughbreds will face Bard College on Dec. 4.