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Men’s hoop wins two to remain undefeated

MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury College men’s basketball team won a pair of recent games to improve to 6-0 heading into Saturday’s 4 p.m. home game vs. Skidmore, the Panthers’ last before their holiday break.
On this past Sunday, the Panthers broke open a close game with a 7-0 second-half run on the way to a 87-78 win over visiting Rensselaer in the team’s home opener. 
The teams traded baskets in the opening minutes as the Engineers grabbed their last lead of the contest (15-14) on a layup by Josh Dugas with 12:34 left in the opening half. But a 16-5 Panther run helped them to a 39-29 lead at the break. Bryan Jones, Nick Tarantino and Jake Brown each had four points during the spurt.
In the second half, Middlebury’s Hunter Merryman knocked down a three to make it 42-29, but RPI hit seven of its first eight shots in a 16-4 run that made it 46-45 at the 14:36 mark. Tyler Gendron fueled the Engineer run with eight of his game-high 21 points.
The Panthers still led, 57-54, with 9:05 left, when Dylan Sinnickson started the decisive run with a step-back three-pointer. He followed that with a layup on an assist from Matt St. Amour, and St. Amour capped off the spurt with a steal and layup of his own giving Middlebury a 64-54 lead with 8:12 remaining. The Panther lead ranged from seven to 17 the rest of the way.
Sinnickson led four Panthers in double figures with 18, while Brown added 14, St. Amour had 13 and Merryman chipped in with 11. Sinnickson and Tarantino each pulled down eight rebounds. Brown and St. Amour both dished out five assists, while Brown was credited with six steals.
In addition to Gendron’s 21 points and eight rebounds for RPI, Dugas added 20 points.
On Tuesday, the Panthers brushed aside host St. Joseph’s, 90-64, behind balanced scoring and 58.6 percent shooting from the floor.
Four Panthers reached double figures in scoring, led by 16 points on seven-for-eight shooting from Connor Huff. Merryman scored 15, followed by Sinnickson’s 11 points and 11 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the year. St. Amour added 11 points and four assists, while Brown netted nine points with nine assists and six rebounds. Jack Daly added nine points off the bench.
Kashean Alston led St. Joseph’s with game highs of 28 points and 13 rebounds.

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