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Panther men’s hoops takes two of three

MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury College men’s basketball team won twice in three recent outings, coasting past two in-state rivals while dropping a close game on the road in New York.
The 4-5 Panthers will look to reach .500 on Saturday, when they conclude first-semester play by hosting another New York foe, Plattsburgh, at 4 p.m.
On Tuesday, 11 Panthers scored, including four in double figures, in a 96-74 victory over Castleton (3-5) that was the Panthers’ home opener.
Middlebury took control with an early 22-4 run that resulted in a 26-9 lead at 13:11 of the first half. The Spartans cut it to 38-29 at 4:39 with a fast-break layup by Tondi Mushandu, but a buzzer-beating 65-foot swish by Matt St. Amour made it 52-37 at halftime.
Out of the break, the Panthers produced a 9-2 run and maintained at least a 20-point lead the rest of the way. Their largest advantage was 83-53 after a fast-break dunk from Zach Baines.
Zack Brown scored a team-best 16 points and added a season-high eight assists. St. Amour added 12 points and a season-best seven helpers. Adisa Majors recorded a career-high 11 points, while Baines came off the bench with 10 points in 15 minutes. Matt Daley finished with nine points and a team-high eight rebounds. The Panthers held a 38-31 rebounding advantage and dished out a season-high 31 assists.
Mushandu led three players in double figures for the Spartans with 14 points, and Joshua Horton had 13. Former Rochester High School standout Pavin Parrish scored nine.
On Saturday, Skidmore (5-1) outlasted the Panthers, 82-77. Middlebury led at the break, 35-29, as St. Amour scored 14 in the first half. But the Thoroughbreds scored the first seven points of the second half to take the lead, and eventually built a 68-58 advantage with 4:35 to play.
The Panthers used a 12-4 run to get to within two, 72-70, with 0:59.8 to play. St. Amour had five of the 12 points, while Hilal Dahleh hit a three-pointer to close the run.
Skidmore then went 10 for 10 from the free throw line over the final minute to seal the win. The Thoroughbreds hit their final 14 free throws of the game over the final 4:35, as Edvinas Rupkus knocked down all 10 of his attempts.
Rupkus scored 23 of his 24 points in the second half. Erik Sanders added 19 points, eight rebounds and two blocks.
St. Amour led Middlebury with 23 points, while Daley chipped in 19 points and nine rebounds. Brown scored 10 points and had five assists. Jack Daly added seven rebounds and six assists in the game.
On Dec. 3, the Panthers crunched winless host Johnson State, 95-48. Middlebury saw 13 players find the scoring column, led by St. Amour’s 19 points. Eric McCord finished with a season-best 10 points and five rebounds off the bench, while Daly chipped in with nine points, six rebounds and six assists. Daley added eight points and eight rebounds, as the Panthers outrebounded, 45-12. Connor Huff finished with eight points, six rebounds and a pair of blocked shots.

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