Tenth-ranked Amherst pulled away from Middlebury in the first half to win 86-78 at Pepin Gym this afternoon. Both teams shot above 50 percent from the floor, but the Jeffs controlled the backboards garnering a 40-29 advantage in rebounds. Amherst improves to 19-2, (6-1 NESCAC) as Middlebury falls to 12-9 (1-6). The Panthers return to action for their final home regular season game against Plattsburgh Tuesday night at 8:00 p.m.
Trailing by as many as five points early on in the game, Amherst built an 11-point lead with a 23-7 run. The Panthers kept it close with a 9-4 run sparked by a pair of threes from Chris Dowd to trim the Jeffs lead to seven 45-38 at the break.
Amherst started the second half on a 10-2 run to extend their lead 55-40. The Panthers kept it in reach by shooting 15-22 from the line in the second half. Middlebury cut the lead to six, 71-65, at the 7:42 mark on a three pointer by Andrew Harris. That would be as close as the Panthers would come, as the deficit balanced around the nine-point margin for the remainder of the game. A late three by Harris, as time expired, cut the final margin to 86-78.
Bedford paced the Jeffs with a game-high 19, while Dan Wheeler added 17. Mike Walsh, Aaron Smith and Harris all scored 14 while two other Panthers, Dowd and Ben Rudin scored double figures with 13 and 11 respectively.