Trinity's Tyler Rhoten, the NESCAC's leading scorer, helped the Bantams fend off a Middlebury surge late in the second half to preserve a 79-68 win at Pepin Gym. The Panthers will look to bounce back tomorrow against fifth-ranked Amherst tomorrow at 3 p.m. at Pepin Gym while the Bantams head to Williams on Saturday.
Rhoten, who shot an uncharacteristic 7-21 and was held to only two points in the first half, found his touch as the Panthers cut an 18-point deficit midway through the second half to just two points at the 1:45 mark. Rhoten made a traditional three-point play on a lay-up and free throw to extend the lead to five.
Middlebury's only lead of the game was at 18:27 of the first half as Sam Daly hit his first of six three-pointers to give Middlebury a 5-3 advantage. The rest of the half was sparked by Trinity's Kino Clarke who had 16 of his game high 31 points. The half ended with Trinity leading 37-26.
The Panthers, who were trailing by double digits from the start of the second half, cut the lead to nine 62-53 on a lay-up with 7:06 remaining. A 13-6 run followed, which trimmed Trinity's lead to just two as Ben Rudin's six points ignited the comeback. Trinity's impressive 18-19 free throw shooting for the game kept the Panthers at bay down the stretch as they hit all five attempts in the final 1:12 to extend their lead back to double digits.
Daly led the Panthers with 18 points, all coming from three pointers, Rudin tossed in 12 and Mike Walsh and Chris Dowd netted 11 and 10 respectively. Clarke lead all scorers with 31, Rhoten chiped in 19 , while Patrick Martin added 17 for the Bantams.