Panther men’s hoop wins two of three

MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury College men’s basketball team won two of three recent games to improve to 8-5, splitting its first two NESCAC games at home this past weekend before claiming a non-league contest on Tuesday.
On Sunday, Middlebury held Tufts (6-6, 0-1 NESCAC) without a field goal for the game’s final 8:31 in an 80-66 win.
Tufts took a 38-35 lead into the break after a back-and-forth first half, and took a 50-43 lead with 14:39 to go after a 9-2 run. But the Jumbos put the Panthers into the bonus situation with 14:10 remaining in the half, and Middlebury capitalized by connecting on 16 of 18 free throws the rest of the way.
Ben Ferris converted a three-point play with 8:31 remaining, earning Tufts its final field goal of the game and putting them up 64-60. The Panther defense then forced the Jumbos to miss their final 13 shots attempted from the floor.
A 9-0 run following the Ferris bucket gave Middlebury a 69-64 lead with 5:33 left to play. The Jumbos came within three on a pair of free throws from Ferris with 3:06 remaining, but the Panthers closed the game on an 11-0 run. A big three from Matt Daley down the stretch gave Middlebury some breathing room.
Joey Kizel led five Panthers in double figures with 17 points and a game-high six assists. Daley, Hunter Merryman and Dylan Sinnickson each scored 15 points, and Matt St. Amour added 12. Jack Roberts recorded seven rebounds and three blocks for the Panthers, while Jake Brown dished out five assists.
On Friday, the Panthers led for nearly their entire NESCAC opener against visiting Bates, but a late three-pointer from well behind the arc by Graham Safford lifted the Bobcats to a 64-61 victory.
The Panthers took a 36-25 lead into the locker room as Sinnickson scored 17 first-half points, including 11 in a 16-2 run that wiped out Bates’ early 11-10 lead.
Middlebury held an eight-point lead, 42-34, with 13:21 left. Bates answered with a 6-0 run and pulled to within two (42-40) on a lay-up from Luke Matarazzo with 10:18 on the clock. The Panthers pulled away again with a 9-0 run ended by two charity tosses from Sinnickson at 6:49 and led 51-40. Bates fought its way back and took its first lead of the game, 54-53, with 3:55 remaining on a tip-in by Malcolm Delpeche.
With 2:35 left, Middlebury’s Kizel was fouled and stepped to the line hitting the first and tying the game, 56-56. He missed his second attempt, but grabbed his own miss and hit a three to make it 59-56. On the ensuing Bates possession, Adam Philpott responded with a three of his own and knotted the contest, 59-59. Matarazzo tallied a lay-up for Bates and St. Amour sank two free throws to set up Safford’s final shot with 11.4 seconds left.
Sinnickson led all scorers with 23 points, while Kizel and Merryman added 12 and 11, respectively. Additionally, Kizel corralled a team-best seven rebounds. For Bates, Safford paced three in double digits with 18.
On Tuesday, Middlebury won, 81-69, at Lyndon State (3-10). The Panthers scored 24 points on 19 Hornet turnovers and took a 17-6 advantage at 14:48 of the first half on the way to a 46-26 halftime lead.
Lyndon rallied to within 67-60 with 4:33 to go with a 10-0 run, but a Merryman three-pointer halted the surge and the Panthers controlled the rest of the way.
St. Amour led four Panthers in double figures with 16, followed by Merryman’s 15 points and seven boards, Sinnickson with 13 points, and James Jensen with 10. Roberts recorded eight boards and three blocks, while Brown scored six, picked up five steals and dished out four assists.

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