Bowdoin held off a late Middlebury rally to take a key 58-56 NESCAC victory over the Panthers on Friday evening. The Polar Bears clinch a playoff berth with the victory, while Middlebury wraps up its season tomorrow at Colby.
Bowdoin came out of the gate red-hot from the field, as Kevin Bradley connected on a pair of three-pointers and Andrew Hippert buried another to give the hosts a 15-5 lead just five minutes into the game. Bowdoin maintained a double-digit lead for the majority of the period, and when Hippert hit another jump shot before intermission, the Polar Bears led 35-22 going into the break.
Bowdoin extended their edge to 16 points immediately after halftime on a trifecta from Petrie, and led by 11 points on a lay-in by Jordan Fliegel with five minutes to play. Middlebury closed the gap on a furious 11-2 run and got back-to-back three-pointers from Chris Dowd and Andrew Harris to cut the lead to two points, 58-56 with one minute on the clock. Following a Bowdoin turnover, Middlebury regained possession and called timeout with 11 seconds left. Evan Thompson took the ball at the three-point line with under 10 ticks left, drove towards the hoop and attempted a running jumper from the elbow that clanked off the rim into the open hands of Bowdoin's Andrew Sargeantson, sealing the win for Bowdoin.
Kyle Petrie added nine rebounds and five assists to his game-high 16 points, while Kevin Bradley totalled 14 points and four assists. Hippert also reached double-digits with 10 points on the night. Middlebury received eight points apiece from a trio of players, led by Aaron Smith's eight points and eight rebounds. Harris and Dowd also scored eight for the Panthers, who out-rebounded the Polar Bears 46-43 on the night.