Men’s hoop earns two victories in tight games

MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury College men’s basketball team won a pair of close road games to push its winning streak to five games and its record to 7-2 heading into a Wednesday night game at Plattsburgh.

The Panthers will wrap up their first-semester play by hosting Skidmore at 7 p.m. on Friday and Stevens at 1 p.m. on Sunday.

On Dec. 3, the Panthers withstood a late rally to edge host Albertus Magnus 83-81, dealing their 2-1 host their first setback.

The first half ended in a 39-39 tie when the Falcons closed with an 11-4 run. Out of the break, Sam Stevens and Alex Sobel combined for all the points in a 12-4 run that put the Panthers on top, 51-43. Middlebury never surrendered the lead, and was up by 71-60 with 3:45 to go.

But the Falcons went on a 14-5 run to pull within 75-74 at 0:52. Noah Osher hit a key jumper to make it 77-74, and the Panthers iced the win by going six-for-six from the free-throw line.

Stevens scored a game-high 27 points; Sobel scored 15 points, grabbed 13 rebounds, and blocked five shots; and Osher chipped in 12 points.

Terry Dawkins paced the Falcons with 13 points, while Tyreek Perkins contributed 12 points and nine rebounds.

On Saturday, the Panthers topped host New England College, 67-62, in a back-and-forth game. The Pilgrims saw a four-game winning streak snapped and dropped to 5-5.

Middlebury opened with a 12-1 run in which Sobel and Stevens scored all the points. NEC fought back and took a 25-24 lead with 3:13 left in the first half, but the Panthers used to 7-0 run to close the half with a 37-30 lead.

NEC’s Michael Tavilla tied the contest, 44-44, with a three at 12:34. The Pilgrims increased their lead to 55-46 at 9:40 on a Kyle Inglis layup. Middlebury responded with an 11-2 run, capped by an Osher jumper, to make it 57-57 with just over five minutes to go.

The game was tied twice more, but Stevens converted five straight free throws in the late going to nail down the win.

Stevens scored a game-high 21 points and Sobel recorded his sixth double-double of the season with 20 points and a career-high 19 rebounds. David Brennan scored 12 and pulled down 11 boards.

Calvin Cheek paced New England College with 20 points, nine rebounds and seven steals. Inglis tallied 18 points and four steals, and Tavilla chipped in nine points and seven boards.

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