Middlebury College men’s hoop split a pair of games

MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury College men’s basketball team split two recent home games, sufferings its first loss on Sunday before bouncing back to win on Tuesday. The 4-1 Panthers were set to host Johnson State on Wednesday after the deadline for this issue of the Independent. The Panthers will next host Colby-Sawyer and Clarkson on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.
On Sunday, visiting Endicott edged the Panthers, 93-89, using a 25-3 run in the second half to rally past the Panthers, who found themselves in foul trouble: point guard Jake Brown ultimately fouled out, and guards Matt St. Amour and Jack Daly finished with four apiece.
Endicott, ranked No. 26 in the preseason poll to the Panthers’ No. 24, outrebounded Middlebury, 40-31; earned an 11-0 edge in second-chance points; and shot 52.3 percent to the Panthers’ 46.4 percent.
Middlebury won the turnover battle, committing just eight to 15 for the Gulls, and outscored Endicott on points off turnovers, 19-13, and in transition, 12-8.
But the Panthers could not hold the 55-38 lead they took with 18:22 to go on a St. Amour layup that capped a 9-0 run. The Gulls answered with their 25-3 run, capped off on a three-point field goal from Vinny Clifford, for a 63-58 lead with 12:38 left. Kamahl Walker had 10 points for the Gulls during the run, while Daquan Sampson chipped in with five points.
Endicott took its largest lead 80-72 via a three-point play by Max Motroni with 5:02 to go.
Middlebury cut the lead to two twice at 89-87 and 91-89 on layups from Daly, but Sampson converted four straight free throws to ice the victory.
St. Amour tied his career high with 33 points to go along with four rebounds and three assists. Daly posted a career-best 22 points and tied a career-high total with five steals, adding six rebounds and six assists. Adisa Majors chipped in 16 points, while Zach Baines added 12 points and a team-best seven rebounds. Brown handed out a game-best eight assists, moving him into fifth place in the Middlebury record books with 399 career assists.
Walker led four Gulls in double figures with 28 points, while Sampson tallied 19 points and a game-best 14 rebounds. Motroni added 18 points and dished out six assists, while Chris Lipscomb tallied 14 points.
On Tuesday, Middlebury held off a late charge by Rensselaer (3-2) to win, 79-72. The Panthers led at the break, 41-32, and by as many as 17, 58-41, with 13:53 left in the game. The Engineers made their move with an 11-2 run that began at the 11:17 mark, when they trailed by 62-48. Tom Horvat sparked the surge with five points and Jonathan Luster capped it with a jumper to make it 64-59 with 7:31 left to play.
The Panthers answered with a 6-0 spurt. Brown hit a hoop, Baines made a steal and converted a layup, and St. Amour stole the ball and fed Daly. But RPI scored the game’s next eight points to close the gap to 75-72 with 2:05 left to play. The Engineers had the ball trailing by three with 1:08 remaining, but a missed shot and a big bucket in the paint from Majors gave the Panthers a safe 77-72 lead with 33 seconds to go.
St. Amour led all scorers with 22 points (17 in the second half) to go along with six rebounds. Baines recorded 16 points and 11 rebounds, while Brown and Daly each scored 10 points and earned four assists. Majors finished with eight points and six boards, while Daly also added three steals.
Andreas Kontopidis led RPI with 21 points and five rebounds, and Luster added 17 points.

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