Second-Half Defense Leads No. 25 Panthers Past Pitt-Bradford

Max Bosco netted 14 points off the bench in Monday's win.
Max Bosco netted 14 points off the bench in Monday's win.

Middlebury trailed by seven at halftime of Monday's contest at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford (2-7), but the visitors held the hosts to just 17 second-half points and pulled away during a 72-53 victory. The 25th-ranked Panthers (7-2) return to action on Tuesday when they travel to Hilbert for a 3:00 p.m. contest.

Tied at 13-13 near the midway point of the first half, the visitors tallied the next six points via a four-point play by Max Bosco and a layup by Hilal Dahleh, for a 19-13 edge with 8:22 remaining. That advantage grew to as many as nine (24-15) on a three-point field goal from Matt Folger at the 5:19 mark. The hosts chipped away at the deficit, tying the contest at 26-26 on a free throw by Jeffrey Fry with 3:31 left. Pitt-Bradford recorded 10 of the final 13 points in the stanza for a 36-29 halftime advantage.

Out of the break, the visitors scored the first 19 points of the stanza, including nine from Jack Farrell, and grabbed a 48-36 lead on a fastbreak layup from Joey Leighton with 10:13 left. Middlebury held Pitt-Bradford scoreless for the first 10:20 of action, as the hosts tallied their initial points of the half on a layup by Justin Kusiappouh to pull to within 48-38.

Middlebury went on an 11-5 run over a span of 4:22, taking a 61-43 advantage on an old-fashioned three-point play from Griffin Kornaker with 5:18 remaining. The hosts never got any closer, as Middlebury cruised to the win. The Middlebury defense held Pitt-Bradford to just 16.7 percent (4-24) shooting in the second half, while the visitors knocked down 51.6 percent (16-31) in the final stanza.

Farrell led three players in double figures with 19 points, including 13 in the second half. He also finished with seven rebounds, four assists and three steals. Bosco posted 14 points off the bench, while Eric McCord posted a double-double of 13 points and a game-high 15 rebounds.

Fry paced the hosts with 14 points, while Dylan Mitchell had 10 points and a team-high six rebounds.

Middlebury possessed a 46-31 rebounding margin, including a 21-8 mark in the second half. The visitors also had a 34-12 edge in points in the paint.