SOUTH BURLINGTON — Michel Ndayishimiye scored 37 points including Rice’s first 11 of the fourth quarter as the top seeded Green Knights fought off a pair of second half comebacks by their arch-rival Burlington Seahorses, winning 63-59 in a VPA Division One quarterfinal thriller on Friday night on Bernie Cieplicki Court.
Rice opened an 18-6 first quarter lead and carried a 34-23 edge into the locker room at halftime. But the eighth seeded ‘Horses began the second half on a 14-3 run to tie the game at 37. Rice responded with a 10-0 run of their own to re-establish a lead and carried a nine point edge into the final stanza. But Burlington charged back again, putting together a 13-4 run to tie the game at 53 with just under three minutes remaining. But a pair of Ndayishimiye hoops and clutch free throw shooting from him and teammate Mo Awayle allowed the Knights to escape with the win.
After Ndayishimiye’s 37 Rice got nine points from Heath Walker, seven from Joe Joe Dubrul and six from Sharif Sharif.
Ryan Murray led the Seahorses with 17, Seth Jackson adding 14, Henry Hood banging home 10, and Jenson Daly contributing eight.
With the win Rice goes to 19-2 and advances to the semi-finals Wednesday night at the Patrick Gym. Burlington ends their season 10-12.