Men’s basketball out of NCAAs
BROCKPORT, N.Y. — The Middlebury College men’s basketball team won its first-round NCAA Division III tournament game on Friday, March 6, but fell the next day in a Regional final to host Brockport, N.Y., 84-81.
The Panthers, who entered the tournament ranked No. 19, finished their season 21-6. Their loss to No. 18 Brockport (26-3) was their first to a team outside of NESCAC competition. Brockport will take on NESCAC champion Tufts this weekend.
Brockport led throughout most of the first half on Saturday and survived a late Panther run to remain on top at the break, 39-37.
The teams traded runs to open the second half. Matt Folger scored eight points as the Panthers took a 50-44 lead at 16:04, but Brockport responded with a 10-0 run.
The game remained close until a 9-2 spurt gave Brockport a 69-60 lead with 7:53 remaining. Middlebury soon responded with a 10-2 run, with five points apiece from Folger and Griffin Kornaker, to slice the deficit to 75-74 at 3:36.
After four points from Golden Eagles, a Kornaker three made it 79-77. Brockport hit two free throws, but Kornaker split the defense and for a layup to cut the lead to 81-79 with 44 seconds left.
Brockport made a free throw, and Middlebury called time with 13 seconds to go trailing by three (82-79). Max Bosco was then fouled and sank two free throws at 0:10.
The Panthers then sent the Golden Eagles to the line at 0:08, and they again hit one of two. The Panthers got a good look at a three from the left corner to win it, but the shot would not fall, and Brockport made one free throw on the other end for the three-point win.
Kornaker finished with a career-high 28 points and five three-point field goals. Jack Farrell scored 18, and Folger finished with 16 points, nine rebounds, three steals and three blocked shots. Tommy Eastman contributed 12 points and seven rebounds. Farrell’s 18 points gave him 1,098 for his career, and he moved into 14th place all-time at Middlebury.
Justin Summers tossed in 22 points to lead four players in double figures for Brockport, which shot 50 percent. The Golden Eagles controlled the boards, 44-30, and outscored Middlebury’s bench, 42-2, in winning their 19th straight.
On the day before Middlebury advanced to the Regional final with a 78-69 victory over Westfield State (20-8). The Panthers did not shoot well in the first half and trailed, 40-32, at the break.
A 15-4 run to open the second half put the Panthers on top, 47-44. The teams traded the lead until Middlebury went on a 10-3 run to go up, 67-61, with 7:01 to go. Threes by Bosco and Ryan Cahill keyed the surge. Middlebury led by at least five points the rest of the way.
Eastman paced the Panthers with 19 points and a career-high 15 rebounds. Bosco added 18 points, while Farrell finished with 12 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Folger scored 10 points with 13 rebounds, while Cahill scored 10. With his 10 points, Folger moved into ninth place all-time at Middlebury with 1,241 points.
Westfield’s Jauch Green Jr. tossed in 23 points, while Moody Bey added 19 to go along with eight steals. The Panthers held a 55-38 advantage on the boards as both teams shot just under 40 percent.
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