Panther men’s basketball coasts to victory in opener
MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury College men’s basketball team opened its season on Sunday by breezing past visiting Vermont Tech, 99-65.
The Panthers, who were ranked No. 17 in preseason NCAA Division III polling, were set to host Northern Vermont-Johnson on Tuesday after the early holiday deadline for this edition. Endicott will visit on Sunday at 2 p.m. and should provide a tougher test than either in-state foe.
VTC were within 40-31 with 4:13 to go in the first half before Middlebury closed the period with a 13-2 run to lead by 20 at the break.
The Knights moved to within 65-49 with 15:04 remaining on a three-pointer from Jeremiah Shaw, but the Panthers put the hammer down with a decisive 19-0 run over the next five minutes that made it 84-49 with 9:54 to go. Freshman forward Alex Sobel capped the run with a tip-in and finished with eight points, eight rebounds and four blocks. The edge grew to as many as 36 (92-56) on a layup from Perry DeLorenzo.
A dozen Panthers scored, and five reached double figures. Max Bosco scored a career-high 18 points, and Joey Leighton tossed in a career-high 17 points, including five threes. Matt Folger chipped in with 13 points and six rebounds, while Eric McCord posted 12 points and a game-best 12 rebounds to go along with four blocked shots. Jack Farrell added 10 points, and Griffin Kornaker handed out a game-best six assists.
Drake Perry led Vermont Tech with 17 points and seven rebounds, while Trekel Douglas and Shaw each added 13 points.
Middlebury held advantages in rebounds (57-35), fast-break points (20-4), bench points (54-16) and second-chance points (28-5). The Panthers shot 14 for 14 at the free-throw line, topping the program’s single-game record of 12 for 12 set in 1974.