The Middlebury men's basketball team made a program-record 41 free throws (41-51) on Sunday afternoon, earning an 87-81 NESCAC victory at Trinity (13-6, 2-4). The total eclipses the previous mark of 36 makes on December 3, 1958. Winners of seven-straight, the 10th-ranked Panthers (15-3, 5-1) return to action on Tuesday at Keene State beginning at 7:30 p.m.
In a back-and-forth opening half, Nick Seretta drilled a jump shot to tie things at 15-15 at the 12-minute mark, before stroking a three-point field goal to give the Bantams an 18-17 lead a few possessions later. After a pair of free-throws by Jack Daly cut the deficit to 25-22, the Bantams went on a quick 6-0 run to open up their largest lead of the half at nine (31-22) with 6:13 left.
The Panthers answered with a 12-0 run of their own, capped off by layups from Daly and Eric McCord for a 34-31 lead with 3:19 showing on the board. Middlebury ended the half with three free throws for a 43-37 lead.
Middlebury maintained between a five and 10-point advantage during the first 8:28 of the second half, as a pair of free throws from Adisa Majors gave the visitors a 61-54 lead with 11:32 left. The Bantams chipped away at the deficit, cutting it to a pair (63-61) via an old-fashioned three-point play by Seretta with 10:15 remaining. The Panthers responded with a quick 7-0 run over the next three minutes, tallying a nine-point advantage on a layup from Hilal Dahleh.
Trinity slowly cut into the Panther lead, as Kyle Padmore brought the hosts to within three (74-71) on a layup with 2:51 left. Jack Farrell answered with a three-point field goal on the Panthers' ensuing possession to maintain breathing room for the visitors. The Bantams tried to muster a comeback attempt, but Middlebury converted 8-10 free-throw attempts over the final minute for the six-point victory.
Daly paced the Panthers with a career-high tying 26 points, including 18-20 at the charity stripe, to go along with 10 rebounds and eight assists. His 18 made free throws match the second-highest single-game total in the program's history set on February 10, 1990 by Mike Baumann '92. McCord finished with 18 points and eight rebounds off the bench in 26 minutes, while Farrell added 16 points and Dahleh had 10. The Panthers shot an astounding 51 free throws compared to just 17 for Trinity (12-17).
Seretta led all players in scoring with 30 points for the Bantams on 9-13 from the floor off the bench. Jeremy Arthur added 11 points and eight boards, while Padmore tallied 10 points. Eric Gendron chipped in with eight points, six rebounds and four assists for the hosts.