Panther basketball coach tallies 300th win

MIDDLEBURY — Panther men’s basketball coach Jeff Brown earned his 300th victory at Middlebury College this weekend when his team swept two home NESCAC games.

The two wins pushed Brown’s career record at Middlebury in 19 years to 300-181. That record is the most victories ever by a Panther men’s basketball coach, and he owns the best winning percentage by a coach who has led the team for more than seven games. The Panthers will look to add to that victory total this coming Sunday, when they host Williams at 3 p.m.

The landmark win came on Saturday, when the Panthers (9-7, 3-1 NESCAC) defeated Bates, 73-61. The Bobcats dropped to 9-7, 2-2 in league play.

The Panthers took charge with a five-minute, 15-0 first-half run during which Bryan Jones came off the bench to score nine points. It ended with Middlebury up, 29-17, when Matt St. Amour hit two free throws at 3:33. The Panthers took a 34-27 lead into halftime.

Bates cut the lead to 40-34, but came no closer, and at one point the Panthers led by 19.

St. Amour led the Panthers with 17 points, Jake Brown added 13 with six assists, and Jones scored 11 by hitting four of six shots from the floor. Zach Baines and Adisa Majors each netted 10 points, and Jack Daly dished out five assists.

Marcus Delpeche paced Bates with 13 points and 12 rebounds.

On Friday, the Panthers upset Tufts, ranked No. 18 in NCAA Division III, 85-82, in overtime. The Jumbos are 12-3, 3-1 in league play after winning on Saturday.

St. Amour scored nine of his 17 points in overtime, including the first six points, and then Middlebury held off a late Tufts’ rally that saw a three-pointer bounce off the rim at the buzzer.

The Panthers, playing in Middlebury, led by as many as eight in the first half, but the Jumbos fought back to forge a 40-40 tie at the break.

The Jumbos took a 54-47 lead in the second half, but the Panthers went on a 13-1 run over the next six minutes to take a 60-55 lead at 7:09.

The Jumbos answered with a 9-2 run over the next two minutes for a 64-62 lead. The Panthers grabbed a three-point lead with 1:52 left on a Daly layup, but Jumbo Vincent Pace forced overtime with a three-pointer at 0:37.

In overtime, St. Amour knocked down a pair free throws and two transition jumpers for a 78-72 advantage with 3:26 left. The Panthers led by between four and seven points until a Tom Palleschi three-pointer brought Tufts to within 84-82 at 0:13. St. Amour hit one of two free throws before Tufts’ shot at the horn rimmed out.

St. Amour added seven rebounds and three assists to his 17 points. Daly contributed 13 points, five rebounds and five assists, while Brown chipped in 10 points and five helpers. Baines came off the bench for nine points and 10 rebounds, while Jones and Connor Huff added nine and eight points, respectively. Tarantino added nine rebounds in nine minutes.

Pace led all scorers with 22 points and pulled down 15 rebounds. Palleschi and Stephen Haladyna each scored 15.

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