Panther men’s basketball loses its first games of the season

LEXINGTON, Va. — The Middlebury College men’s basketball team in recent action suffered its first two losses of the winter, both to ranked teams. The Panthers split a pair of games at Washington & Lee’s four-team holiday tournament this past weekend before returning home to lose another non-league contest, a result that snapped the program’s 18-game home winning streak.
The 7-2 Panthers were ranked No. 2 in NCAA Division III but dropped to No. 4 in the rankings this week after falling in overtime to No. 25 York in the Washington & Lee tournament’s first round on Dec. 29. This Tuesday’s loss to No. 12 Skidmore will almost certainly send them further down in the poll.
Middlebury this coming weekend will begin its NESCAC schedule by visiting Connecticut and Wesleyan.
On Dec. 29 the Panthers fell to undefeated York (Pa.), 90-87, in overtime. In the tournament finale, York (11-0) bested Washington & Lee in overtime. 
Vs. Middlebury, York led by 70-60 with 4:16 remaining, but the Panthers then outscored the Spartans by 14-2 to lead, 74-72 at 0:36. A layup from York’s Blayde Reich at 0:24 made it 74-74, and after turnovers by both teams York missed a three at the buzzer.
York opened overtime with an 11-4 run to make it 85-78 at 1:17, with only four Jack Daly free throws on the Panther side. With 38 seconds to go, a York free throw made it 87-79. The Panthers responded with an 8-2 run capped with a Matt Folger three to make it 89-87 at 0:10. After turnovers from each team a York free throw made it 90-87 at 0:4.4. The Panthers had a chance to tie, but Jack Farrell’s deep three-pointer missed.
Folger led the Panthers with 22 points and 12 rebounds. Daly had 20 points, five assists and four steals, but also committed five of the Panthers’ 27 turnovers. Daly (four steals) and Farrell (five steals) helped force 25 York turnovers. Hilal Dahleh and Farrell each scored 11, while Nick Tarantino produced nine points and 11 rebounds. The Panthers shot 36.5 percent.
On Saturday the Panthers coasted past Clarks Summit, 81-58, dropping their opponent to 1-9. A 14-0 second-half run settled matters.
Daly, who was named to the all-tournament team, led 11 Panthers who scored by tallying 16 points to go along with eight rebounds and six assists. Adisa Majors had nine points and five rebounds off the bench in 15 minutes, while Folger, Farrell and Dahleh each contributed eight points, respectively. Eric McCord added six points and eight boards off the bench.
On Tuesday Swarthmore (10-1) went on a 17-2 first-half run on the way to a 47-32 lead at the break. The Panthers came to within nine midway through the half by forcing two turnovers and getting two Daly free throws on the break and a three from Daly. Two Joey Leighton free throws then made it 67-60 at 10:33.
Swarthmore’s lead hovered between seven and 10 points until a Dahleh fast-break layup made it 72-64 at 6:46. Four Swarthmore points over the next minute pushed the lead to 12, and the Panthers came no closer.
Folger paced Middlebury with 21 points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots. McCord finished with 12 points and nine rebounds, while Daly contributed 12 points and 11 assists.

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