First-Half Run Moves #12 Swarthmore Past #4 Middlebury

Matt Folger had 21 points, eight rebounds and three blocks during Tuesday's contest. (photo by Will Costello)
Matt Folger had 21 points, eight rebounds and three blocks during Tuesday's contest. (photo by Will Costello)

A 17-2 run by visiting Swarthmore over a span of 6:29 in the first half propelled the 12th-ranked Garnet past #4 Middlebury by a 91-75 score on Tuesday in Pepin Gym. The fourth-ranked Panthers (7-2) return to action on Friday night when they begin NESCAC play at Connecticut College starting at 7:00 p.m., while Swarthmore (10-1) hosts Gettysburg on Saturday at 1:00 p.m.

The Garnet quickly jumped out to a 9-4 lead on a layup by Zac O'Dell with 17:20 left in the opening half. The Panthers answered with a 6-0 run for a 10-9 edge with 15:36 on the clock. A bucket from Swarthmore's Abass Sallah sparked a 7-2 run, giving the visitors a 16-12 edge on a three-point field goal from Conor Harkins at the 12:28 mark.

After a jumper from Adisa Majors on the ensuing possession cut the Middlebury deficit to just two, the Garnet rattled off the decisive run, capped by a layup from Cam Wiley for a 33-16 lead with 5:37 left. Harkins had six points on a pair of threes during the spurt for Swarthmore, as the Panthers missed nine consecutive shots. Middlebury pulled to within 13 (41-28) on a three from Matt Folger with 2:35 on the clock, but the Garnet scored six of the last 10 points before the half for a 47-32 lead at the break.

Out of the intermission, the hosts sliced the Swarthmore lead to 11 (47-36) on consecutive layups from Jack Daly and Eric McCord. The visitors responded with the next seven points, grabbing their largest lead of the game at 18 (54-36) on a three from Wiley at the 18:25 mark. Middlebury chipped away at the Garnet lead over the next few minutes, moving to within seven (67-60) of a pair of free throws by Joey Leighton with 10:33 left. The Panthers couldn't come any closer over the remainder of the contest, as Swarthmore earned the double-digit road victory.  

Folger paced Middlebury with 21 points in addition to eight rebounds and three blocked shots. McCord finished with 12 points and a team-high nine rebounds, while Daly dished out a game-best 11 assists to go along with 12 points. Leighton, Hilal Dahleh and Nick Tarantino each chipped in with eight points.

Wiley led the Garnet with a game-high 22 points, including 16 in the second half, while O'Dell added a double-double of 19 points and a game-high 14 rebounds. Nate Shafer tacked on 12 points, eight rebounds and five blocked shots off the bench, while Ryan Ingram had 10 points for the visitors.

With the loss, Middlebury sees an 18-game regular-season home winning streak snapped.