Panther men fall in regional final

GALLOWAY, N.J. — The Middlebury College men’s basketball team on Friday won its first-round NCAA Division III basketball game, but the 18-11 Panthers saw a rally fall short as they lost in a Regional final on Saturday at Stockton University in Galloway, N.J.
On Saturday, New Hampshire’s Keene State (20-10) avenged an 83-74 regular-season loss to Middlebury by hanging on for a 74-72 victory over the Panthers. The Owls went on an early 11-0 run and led by as many as 14 in the first half before settling for a 41-29 lead at the break. Middlebury shot just 36 percent in the first half and turned the ball over eight times.
After the break, Keene State answered several Middlebury runs. The Panthers whittled the lead down to eight at 55-47 on a Connor Huff three-pointer with 10:12 remaining, but the Owls scored on their next three possessions to push the lead back to 14 with 9:01 left.
Middlebury went on a 12-3 run over the next 4:34 and pulled to within 64-59 on a layup by Jack Daly at 4:37. Keene kept between a five- and seven-point advantage until a three by Jake Brown and a Matt St. Amour fast-break layup pulled Middlebury to within 72-71 at 0:45. 
Lucas Hammel knocked down two free throws for the Owls at 0:40 to make it 74-71. Daly then missed a three-pointer, but Daley grabbed the offensive rebound, and St. Amour was fouled at 0:22 and hit one of two free throws. Middlebury again fouled, and Keene’s Nate Howard missed twice, with Daley rebounding.
Middlebury called for time with 11 seconds left, and Daley shot and missed with three seconds to go. Daly rebounded, but Howard blocked his shot. St. Amour grabbed the loose ball, but his desperation shot at the horn also missed.
 St. Amour finished with a game-high 18 points, 14 in the second half, and five rebounds. He finished his junior season with 566 points, the second-highest total for a season in the program’s history; he also eclipsed 1,000 points for his career on Friday. Brown had 17 points and three assists, while Daley had 13 points on six-for-nine shooting and a game-best 13 rebounds. Daly contributed 12 points, 11 boards and three assists. The Panthers held a 48-36 advantage on the glass.
On Friday, the unranked Panthers hung on to upset No. 24 Salisbury, 75-73. The Panthers went on an early 14-2 run to take a 16-4 lead and never trailed afterward against the 21-7 Gulls.
The Gulls came to within 24-19 in the first half, but the Panthers closed the half strong and led by 36-25 at the break. In the second half, Middlebury led by as much as 43-30 on a Zach Baines three-point play at 16:44, but Salisbury reeled off an 11-0 run, and the Panthers’ biggest lead the rest of the way was eight at 51-43 and 71-63, the latter score at 2:26 after the Gulls had come within one at 62-61.
The Gulls then scored five straight to make it 71-68. Then Daley converted a layup after taking a driving feed from St. Amour to make it 73-68 at 0:46. Salisbury hit two free throws and converted a steal at 0:09, but St. Amour swished two free throws at 0:05 to make it 75-72.
The Panthers elected to foul Salisbury rather than allow a game-tying three. The Gulls hit the first free throw and missed the second one on purpose. The rebound went out of bounds to Salisbury at 0:02, leaving no time for a potential game-tying shot.
St. Amour tallied 27 points, including 11 for 11 from the  line. Baines had 14 points and five rebounds off the bench, while Daley had 13 points, six rebounds and three steals. Daly recorded a game-high 11 rebounds.
The Panthers shot 49.1 percent from the floor, while Salisbury knocked down 43.9 percent of its attempts. Middlebury made 21 of 26 free throws, while the Sea Gulls hit 14 of 20. Middlebury outscored Salisbury, 42-26, in the paint and held a 37-26 rebounding advantage. 

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