Men’s basketball wins one but drops a pair

MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury College men’s basketball team picked up an easy road win late last week, but then dropped its first two games of the season as competition stiffened. The 5-2 Panthers, whose No. 18 ranking in NCAA Division III is in jeopardy, will host Skidmore at 4 p.m. on Saturday. 
On Nov. 27 the Panthers picked up a wire-to-wire win over host New England College, 97-68. Matt Folger’s career-high 28 points, including six three-pointers, paced the Panthers, and he added nine rebounds and three blocks. 
Jack Farrell finished with 14 points and six assists, while Max Bosco netted 14 off the bench. Hilal Dahleh grabbed seven boards and scored as many points, while Eric McCord pulled down eight rebounds to help the Panthers earn a 52-39 edge on the boards. 
On Saturday, Keene State — a Panther nemesis in recent seasons — staved off a Panther rally to pull away in the final few minutes to win, 93-88. 
In the first half the Panthers struggled offensively against the 4-2 Owls’ quickness, and Keene took a 45-35 lead at the break when Ty Nichols capped a 15-6 run with a buzzer-beating layup. 
Keene took its largest lead at 51-37 on a Miguel Prieto jumper at 18:05 of the second half before the Panthers started chipping away. A Folger dunk made it 59-54 at 10:41, and Middlebury cut it to 76-75 on a Bosco jumper at 3:06. After an Owl hoop, Folger missed three free throws (the Panthers were 19 of 29 from the line), and the Owls scored the next seven points to salt the game away, including making eight of 10 free throws down the stretch.  
Farrell led the Panthers with a career-high 30 points, including six of 12 on three-pointers, while Bosco added 21 points and four assists. Folger chipped in with 15 points and tied his career high with 15 rebounds, to go along with three blocked shots. Eric McCord yanked down 10 boards for the hosts, and Perry DeLorenzo and Alex Sobel added seven points apiece off the bench. 
Nichols paced Keene State with 26 points to go along with 14 rebounds and seven assists. James Anozie added 19 points and eight rebounds, and Prieto scored 16.
On Tuesday host Plattsburgh, at 7-0 ranked No. 10 in this week’s NCAA Division III poll, outlasted the Panthers, 92-83. A back-and-forth first half saw the Cardinals emerge with a 42-41 lead. 
The Panthers took their biggest lead in the second half at 54-40 at 14:11 on a Bosco layup, and still led at 60-59 before the Cardinals went on a decisive 11-3 run to take a 70-63 lead with 8:22 to go. Nick DeAngelis hit two threes in that spurt. The closest the Panthers came the rest of the way was 74-71 with about six minutes left. 
Farrell finished with 27 points, four rebounds and four assists. Folger posted 18 points and 12 rebounds, Bosco had 14 points off the bench, and Dahleh and McCord each chipped in seven points and five rebounds.
Jonathan Patron led Plattsburgh with 31 points and 12 rebounds, while DeAngelis added 17 points. Plattsburgh outrebounded Middlebury, 49-39. 

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