#2 Middlebury Pulls Away From #16 Skidmore

Nick Tarantino recorded a double-double in Friday's victory over Skidmore.
Nick Tarantino recorded a double-double in Friday's victory over Skidmore.

The Middlebury men's basketball team utilized a 13-0 run during the second half en route to a 91-76 victory at 16th-ranked Skidmore (6-1). The Panthers conclude their first-semester schedule with a 6-0 record. Middlebury is idle until Friday, December 29, when it faces York at the Washington & Lee Tournament.

The teams stayed within striking distance of each other early on, with neither team possessing larger than a four point edge over the first 5:02 of play. Behind by one, Middlebury rattled off an 8-0 run spanning three minutes for a 16-9 edge, highlighted by a three-point field goal by Matt Folger and a tip-in from Nick Tarantino.

Skidmore chipped away at the Panther advantage, tying the contest at 18-18 via a three-pointer by Noah Meren with 8:59 remaining. The teams traded leads over the next 6:25, before Pat Gallagher gave the Thoroughbreds the lead (38-34) on a free-throw going into the locker room.

In the second half, the Panthers trailed 42-39 following a layup by Edvinas Rupkus, but a basket by Tarantino and a three from Jack Farrell gave the visitors the lead for good on their next possession. Those five points sparked the decisive 13-0 run to open up a 10-point advantage on the hosts highlighted capped by a layup from Folger with 14:45 left (52-42).

Skidmore cut the deficit to six on a three-pointer from Meren with 8:50 left (64-58), but the Panthers extended their lead to 12 (76-64) with 5:57 remaining on a three by Farrell. The Thoroughbreds got no closer in the remainder of the contest, as Middlebury eased to the 15-point victory.

Farrell led four Panthers in double figures with a career-high 22 points, while Tarantino ended his night with a double-double of 20 points and a career-best 17 rebounds. Folger finished with 18 points, while Jack Daly had 13 points, 11 assists and five rebounds. 

Meren paced the Thoroughbreds with 19 points and grabbed eight rebounds, while Rupkus was right behind with 18. Dakpe Yiljep netted 16 for Skidmore, and Gallagher chipped in with nine rebounds and seven points.

As a team, Middlebury shot 58.1 percent (18-31) in the second half and knocked down 15-18 of its attempts at the free throw line en route to 58 points.