Men’s Basketball Edged by No. 14 Nichols in NCAA Tournament First Round

Hilal Dahleh finished with eight points, five rebounds and three assists against Nichols. (photo by Rowan Sports Information)
Hilal Dahleh finished with eight points, five rebounds and three assists against Nichols. (photo by Rowan Sports Information)

The Middlebury men’s basketball team battled No. 14 Nichols in a back-and-forth NCAA Tournament opening round contest, as the Bison edged the Panthers 74-71 on Friday. The regional was hosted by Rowan in the Esby Gymnasium.

  • The Bison grabbed a 19-13 advantage before the Panthers rattled off a 20-4 run spanning 7:07 for a 33-23 lead, capped by a three-point field goal from sophomore Will Ingram (Dallas, Texas) with 6:29 left.
  • Nichols responded with a 7-0 run and the Panthers answered with a quick 8-0 spurt, as Middlebury maintained a double-digit lead and led 43-33 at the half.
  • In the second half, the Bison rattled off the first 12 points for a 45-43 lead with 16:25 left.  
  • Trailing 67-64, Nichols produced the next six points, grabbing a 70-67 lead with 1:54 remaining. After the teams traded baskets, a pair of free throws from sophomore Griffin Kornaker (Bradenton, Fla.) brought the Panthers to within 72-71 with 1:12 left. Both teams missed shots on their ensuing possessions, before Nichols canned two free throws for a 74-71 advantage with 22 seconds left. The Panthers called a timeout, but turned the ball over in the waning seconds and the Bison inbounded it and dribbled out the final seconds for the win.
  • Junior Matt Folger (Weston, Conn.) tallied his 12th double-double of the season, scoring 15 points and pulling down 15 rebounds, while senior Eric McCord (Westford, Mass.) produced his 10th double-double with 10 points and 10 boards to go along with a game-high three blocked shots. Rookie Alex Sobel (Setauket, N.Y.) chipped in with 12 points and six boards, Kornaker added 10 points.

• Men’s basketball final record: 18-8