Men’s Basketball Splits Pair of Road Games

Matt Daley averaged 12.0 ppg and 6.5 rpg last week.
Matt Daley averaged 12.0 ppg and 6.5 rpg last week.

The Middlebury men’s basketball team split a pair of games last week. The Panthers pulled away from Lyndon State in the final seven minutes with an 18-9 run on Tuesday for an 85-74 road victory. In conference play on Saturday, Hamilton scored with 0.8 seconds left in regulation to post a 64-62 win in Scott Field House. 

At Lyndon State, Middlebury opened the scoring less than a minute into the game on a bucket by rookie Adisa Majors (New York, N.Y.), and a dunk by classmate Zach Baines (Stamford, Conn.) 26 seconds later doubled the margin. Sophomore Jack Daly (Eastchester, N.Y.) and Baines added layups to cap off the 8-0 run, before a three-pointer by Corey Frost put the Hornets on the scoreboard 4:19 into the contest.

Lyndon State fought its way back to take the lead at 26-24, as Robert Rouelle connected from behind the three-point arc with 5:56 left before the break. The Panthers tied the game on each of their next two possessions, while Majors scored from in the paint to put Middlebury back in the lead (31-29).

The Hornets closed to within 37-35 at the half, when Raymond Monroe sank a three-pointer with 12 seconds remaining. Lyndon State kept the score close in the opening 20 minutes, hitting 72.7 percent of its attempts (8-11) from behind the three-point line.

The start of the second half was close as the teams were tied three times in the first 4:08, but Middlebury took the lead for good (48-46) on a pair of free throws by Majors.

The Panthers twice led by 12 after that point, with the first of those on a senior Matt Daley (Fairfield, Conn.) layup (79-67) with 3:05 left and other in the final minute on two junior Jake Brown (Hawley, Pa.) free throws.

Junior Matt St. Amour (Swanton, Vt.) topped all scorers with 23 points and added six assists, while Baines netted a career-high 20 points on 9-10 shooting from the floor. Daley added 12 points and six rebounds off the bench and Majors chipped in with eight points. Daly had a balanced effort with seven points and a team-high seven rebounds. Brown was steady at both ends of the court with four points, five assists, five steals and six rebounds.

Monroe paced with Hornets with 17 points, while Frost, Kevin Love and Shaun Hill tallied 12 points apiece.

The hosts connected on 53.6 percent (30-56) of their attempts from the floor in the game, including 11-16 shots (68.8 percent) from behind the three-point arc. Middlebury was able to overcome Lyndon State's shooting by protecting the ball, committing a season-low six turnovers, while forcing the Hornets into 14.

On Saturday, Hamilton’s Andrew Groll made the deciding basket with less than a second left from inside the paint to lift the Continentals.

The Continentals jumped out to an early 6-3 lead before Middlebury grabbed the advantage with an 11-0 run. St. Amour, Daley, Brown and Majors all made layups and rookie Hilal Dahleh (Cambridge, Mass.) capped the spurt with a three-pointer for a 14-6 cushion.

The Panthers’ lead fluctuated between four and 11 points the rest of the half. A trifecta by junior Liam Naughton (Darien, Conn.) gave Middlebury a 37-26 advantage with 1:59 to go in the period. The Panthers led 39-32 at the break.

Middlebury opened the second half with a 10-2 run and took its largest lead of the afternoon of 15 points (49-34) with 16:33 left. Daley scored five of the Panthers’ 10 points during the run.

The Continentals responded with an 18-5 spurt and clawed back to within two points at 54-52 with 11:06 remaining. Joe Pucci scored six points during the run and Michael Grassey capped it with a three-pointer. Middlebury’s slim lead moved between two and four points for the next six-plus minutes until Pucci tied the score at 62-62 on a jumper with 4:28 to go.

The teams were stuck on that score until Groll’s last-second basket, which was also Hamilton’s first lead since the first four minutes of the game. During the four-plus minute scoreless stretch near the end, the Panthers missed five shots and committed two turnovers. The Continentals were also 0-5 from the field with a pair of miscues.

St. Amour paced Middlebury with 14 points. Daley added 12 points and Majors contributed eight points, nine rebounds and three steals. Daly handed out six assists and Brown was credited with five.

Groll recorded his fifth double-double this season with a game-high 18 points and 14 rebounds. Hoffmann finished with nine points, seven rebounds and three steals, while Pucci added 11 points off the bench.

• Men’s basketball record: 11-8
• Up Next: 2/2 at Keene State – 7:30 p.m., 2/5 vs. Colby – 7:00 p.m., 2/6 vs. Bowdoin – 3:00 p.m.