Late First-Half Run Lifts Men's Basketball Past Endicott

Hilal Dahleh finished with a career-high 18 points in Sunday's win at Endicott.
Hilal Dahleh finished with a career-high 18 points in Sunday's win at Endicott.

Middlebury went on an 11-0 run to close the first half, and held off a late charge by Endicott (2-1) on its way to a 78-67 road victory on Sunday afternoon in MacDonald Gymnasium. The eighth-ranked Panthers (4-0) have more than a week off before returning to action on Tuesday, December 5 when they host Plattsburgh State at 7:30 p.m.

Middlebury moved out to a 15-7 lead on a layup from Jack Daly with 13:08 left in the opening half. The Gulls responded with eight-straight points over nearly the next three minutes, tying the contest at 15-15 on a three-point field goal by Matt McDevitt. The Panthers rattled off a 10-1 run spanning almost five minutes for a 25-16 edge, capped off via a jumper from Adisa Majors with 5:51 remaining. The Gulls answered with a 7-2 spurt of their own, slicing the Panther lead to four (27-23) on a pair of free throws by Nick Thibeault with 3:59 on the clock.

Middlebury put together its decisive 11-0 run over the remainder of the half, highlighted by five points from Hilal Dahleh, for a 38-23 advantage at the break.

In the second half, the visitors scored 11 of the first 17 points, gaining their largest lead of the contest of 20 (49-29) on a layup from Daly with 14:52 left. Endicott chipped away at the deficit, cutting it to six (59-53) via a three-pointer by Joe Del Ricci with 7:30 left to play and once again on a layup by Keith Brown with 6:32 to go (61-55). Middlebury tallied five points on its next two possessions on a three from Dahleh and a layup by Nick Tarantino, as the Gulls weren't able to pull any closer in the Panther win.

Daly guided the Panthers with a near triple-double consisting of a game-high 19 points to go along with nine assists and nine rebounds. Tarantino collected a double-double with 17 points and 10 boards, while Matt Folger contributed 14 points and nine rebounds. Dahleh ended his day with a career-high 18 points on 6-7 shooting with four threes to go along with four rebounds, three assists and a pair of steals.

Brown, the nation's leading scorer at 41.5 points per game entering the day, led Endicott with 15 points, while Del Ricci notched 14. McDevitt had nine points and five rebounds, while Joe Shehadi had eight points, three assists and three steals.

Middlebury held a decided advantage in points in the paint (44-16) and rebounds (58-30).