Men’s basketball splits two contests
SWARTHMORE — The Middlebury College men’s basketball team split two recent non-league games and its record stands at 9-3 with its NESCAC schedule set to begin this weekend. The Panthers will host Connecticut at 7 p.m. Friday and Wesleyan at 3 p.m. Saturday.
On this past Sunday host Swarthmore (8-2) rallied in the last few minutes to edge the Panthers, 82-80. Middlebury had come back from a 43-33 second-half deficit to lead by 71-62 with 4:40 to go. With the score tied at 57-57 Jack Farrell sparked a 14-5 run with nine points, and Matt Folger capped it with a three-pointer for the nine-point lead.
But then Swarthmore hit consecutive three-pointers to make it 71-68 at 3:23. The Panther stretched their lead back to five twice. But when Swarthmore’s Zac O’Dell hit a layup as he was fouled at 1:38 it cut the score to 80-77. O’Dell missed the free throw and the Panthers rebounded, but O’Dell immediately stole the ball and laid it in to make it 80-79.
The Panthers missed two shots and turned the ball over once down the stretch, and a Cam Wiley floater made it 81-80, Swarthmore, with 12 seconds left. The Panthers missed a contested three-pointer with two seconds left, and Swarthmore added a free throw with a second to go.
Farrell led three Panthers in double figures with 24 points, including 21 in the second half. Folger posted 14 points and 10 rebounds, while Max Bosco had 12 points off the bench. Eric McCord pulled down 10 boards for Middlebury, while Alex Sobel had eight points, nine rebounds, three assists and three blocked shots.
O’Dell paced Swarthmore with 25 points to go along with six rebounds, while Wiley added 17 points, nine rebounds and a six assists.
On Tuesday six Panthers hit for double figures and Middlebury never trailed in a 100-66 victory over visiting SUNY Canton (6-7).
The Kangaroos hung with the Panthers for the first seven minutes, after which they trailed by 16-13. But the Panthers’ ball movement, transition attack and defense took its toll over the next nine minutes, during which with defensive help from the bench they outscored Canton by 26-9 to take a 42-23 lead on a Folger dunk and a Farrell three-point play, both on the break. The lead grew to 57-27 at the break when Folger nailed a three from the top of the key in the final seconds.
The Panthers led by as many as 37 (84-47) in the second half before settling for the 34-point win. Middlebury dished out a season-best 30 assists on 39 baskets and earned advantages of 53-38 on the boards and 28-4 in fast-break points.
Folger scored 20 points and added career-high marks of 16 rebounds and six assists. Farrell posted 16 points, six boards and four assists, while Eric McCord tallied 12 points and 10 rebounds. Hilal Dahleh chipped in 12 points, Bosco added 11 and six assists, and Griffin Kornaker scored 10 points and set up six baskets.
Robert Holliday Jr. paced the visitors with 16 points and six rebounds.
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