The Middlebury men's basketball team opened the 2017-18 season with a convincing 111-72 victory over Fitchburg State (0-1), highlighted by a triple-double from Jack Daly, while hosting the Middlebury Tournament in Pepin Gymnasium. The eighth-ranked Panthers return to action on Saturday afternoon when they face Wentworth, a 72-67 victor over New England College, at 3:00 p.m. in the championship game. Fitchburg State and New England College will play at 1:00 p.m. in the consolation game.
Fitchburg State grabbed a 9-7 lead on a three-point field goal by Jerrell Gomes at the 18:17 mark of the opening half. Middlebury rattled off a 17-0 run over the ensuing 4:22, highlighted by five points each from Matt Folger and Jack Farrell, for a 24-9 lead with 13:55 remaining. The Panthers knocked down 7-8 shots during the spurt, including a trio of threes.
The Falcons chipped away at the deficit, cutting it to 11 (27-16) on a three from Brandon Harris with 12:23 left. The Panthers answered with a 13-0 burst over the next 3:39 for a 40-16 advantage. Middlebury maintained that lead, pushing it to as many as 37 (60-23) on a pair of free throws by Adisa Majors with 2:34 left in the half.
Leading 62-27 at the break, the Panthers maintained a safe cushion for the remainder of the contest, taking their biggest lead at 39 (107-68) with 2:35 remaining on a jumper from Perry DeLorenzo and cruised to the victory.
All 13 Panthers who played scored in the win, including five in double figures. Folger led the charge with 17 points on 6-9 shooting, while Eric McCord added 15 on a perfect 7-7 from the floor in 13 minutes of action. Joey Leighton finished with a career-high 14 points, including a trio of threes, while Max Bosco and Daly each chipped in with 10.
Daly recorded what is believed to be the first triple-double in the program's history, tacking on a career-high 15 rebounds to go along with 12 assists. He completed his milestone night on a layup with 7:54 left in the contest, giving him his ninth and 10th points of the game.
Gomes led Fitchburg State with 16 points and five assists, while Jonathan Perez and Anthony Allen each added nine points. Joshua Bosworth pulled down a team-high five rebounds for the Falcons.
Middlebury held a decided rebounding advantage (54-37) and a 23-7 edge in fast-break points. The Panthers finished the contest shooting over 56 percent from the field (37-66) on 27 assists, while limiting Fitchburg State to just 34.2 percent (25-73).