Losses cost Panther men’s hoop first place

AMHERST, Mass. — The Middlebury College men’s basketball team had a tough weekend, as two NESCAC road losses dropped the Panthers from first to fifth place in the league and means the Panthers will not host a NESCAC playoff game.
Middlebury (19-5, 7-3 NESCAC) finished in a five-way tie for first place in the NESCAC standings with Amherst, Williams, Hamilton and Wesleyan, but among that group lost out in the tiebreakers and was awarded the No. 5 seed. Most notably, the Panthers had a 1-3 record against the other four teams in the group, defeating only Williams at home and losing on the road to the other three.
On Saturday, host Amherst (16-8) took charge in the first half with a 16-0 run to take a 32-14 lead on the way to an 80-68 victory. The Mammoths led by as many as 20 in the first half before settling for a 43-28 advantage at the break.
The Panthers came no closer than 13 points in the second half until two Jack Farrell free throws made it 75-66 with 1:10 to go. An Eric McCord hoop made it 76-68 in the final minute, but four Amherst free throws set the final score.
Amherst held the Panthers to 35.8 percent shooting, including six of 24 from behind the arc, while the Mammoths shot 43.9 percent. The Mammoths also outrebounded the Panthers, 60-34.
Farrell tied a career high with 22 points on seven-for-13 shooting, while Nick Tarantino scored 11. Jack Daly finished with six points, six assists and nine rebounds, and Matt Folger added seven points, six boards and three blocked shots.
The Mammoths had five players score in double digits, paced by Michael Riopel with 17, and Fru Che and Joseph Schneider with 13 each.
On Saturday host Hamilton (20-3) shot 52.5 percent, including 15 of 24 from three-point range, in snapping what had been an 11-game Panther winning streak, 102-81.
The Continentals held a 38-32 lead at the break and stretched their advantage to 53-43. The Panthers scored seven-straight points (Adisa Majors and McCord inside and a Folger three-pointer) to close to within 56-53 with 11:41 remaining, but Hamilton quickly pushed the lead back to 10 and then pulled away in the final four minutes.
McCord finished with 21 points to go along with eight rebounds. Folger scored 17 points, Daly added 15 with nine rebounds and six assists, and Farrell netted 11.
For Hamilton Kena Gilmour tossed in 29 points, and Tim Doyle scored 19.

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