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Panther men’s basketball falls in tourney

GLASSBORO, N.J. — In a first-round NCAA Division III men’s basketball game played at Rowan University, No. 14 Nichols on Friday, March 1, edged Middlebury College, 74-71.
The Panthers finished at 18-8, while Nichols improved to 27-2 after also beating Rowan by nine in Saturday’s regional final.
The teams traded the lead throughout. The Panthers led at the break, 43-33, but Nichols opened the second half with a 12-0 run to go on top. Middlebury responded to lead by as many as five, 62-57, at 9:39, when Joey Leighton hit a three.
Later, Nichols went on a 6-0 run to lead by 70-67 at 1:54. The teams traded baskets before two Griffin Kornaker free throws brought the Panthers to within 72-71 at 1:12.
After both teams missed shots Nichols’ Marcos Echevarria sank two free throws at 0:22, and the Panthers turned the ball over in the final seconds.
Matt Folger led the Panthers with 15 points and 15 rebounds, while Eric McCord contributed 10 points and 10 boards to go along with three blocked shots. Alex Sobel chipped in 12 points and six boards, Kornaker scored 10 points, and Hilal Dahleh added eight points, five rebounds and three assists.
Echevarria paced Nichols with 24 points, while DeAnte Bruton added 22. The Panthers held advantages in rebounding (49-36), points in the paint (36-24) and bench points (32-1). But the Bison hit 25 of 29 free throws, while Middlebury made seven of 11.

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