In an early match-up of top-20 teams, 10th ranked St. Mary’s held off 18th ranked Middlebury 81-78 in overtime at the 10-team Hoopsville Classic in Owings Mills, Md. Joey Kizel, who hit a buzzer-beating three to send it to overtime, finished with a game-high 26 points, earning all-tournament honors. Middlebury (3-2) returns to action on December 1st, with a road contest at Rensselaer.
The Panthers, who shot particularly strong from behind the arc (9-22), opened up the game with a pair of threes by Nate Bullock for a quick 6-4 lead. The lead bulged to 14-6, capped by a Kizel three at 14:45. The Panthers extended their advantage to 27-17 on a Connor Huff jumper at 8:51 before the Seahawks countered with a 14-4 run to tie the game at 31-31 with less than two minutes to play in the half. Kizel capped the scoring with a three, giving Middlebury a 34-31 lead at the break.
Middlebury extended its lead to 39-31 to open the second, highlighted by a three from Hunter Merryman. The Seahawks (2-1) answered with a 12-2 lead capped by a dunk and made free throw by Gavan Scanlan, giving St. Mary’s a 43-41 lead at 15:35. The teams exchanged leads six times in the next 12 minutes, as St. Mary’s built a 68-63 advantage with 1:45 left in regulation on a Kyle Wise lay-up. A traditional three-point play by Kizel cut the deficit to 68-66 at 1:28.
With 13 seconds left, a pair of free throws by St. Mary’s Nick Laguerre gave the Seahawks a 71-68 lead, setting up Kizel’s buzzer-beating three, sending the game into overtime.
Trailing 73-71 in the extra-session, Matt St. Amour knocked down a three off a feed from Kizel and later followed with a pair of free throws for a 76-73 lead at 3:30. A Wise lay-up combined with a bucket by Troy Spurrier gave the Seahawks a 77-76 advantage at 1:41. Middlebury quickly answered with a basket by Jake Nidenberg at 1:28 to retake the lead.
Just under a minute to play, St. Mary’s Donn Hill knocked down a pair from the stripe to grab the lead at 79-78. A Panther turnover forced Middlebury to foul Wise, who hit both free throws for a 81-78 advantage with 31 seconds remaining. After a Panther timeout, Merryman’s three-point attempt was offline, but Nidenberg grabbed the offensive carom and Merryman’s final three-point, game-tying shot was off target.
Kizel finished with game-highs of 26 points and six assists and three steals to pace Middlebury. Nidenberg added a dozen points off the bench as he and Merryman (nine points) both grabbed a team-high eight rebounds.
Laguerre led St. Mary’s with 22 points and four assists, while Hill added 18 as the duo shot 15-25 from the field. Wise netted 16 and Spurrier netted 16 and 10, respectively, from the bench. For the game, the Seahawks shot 30-56 from the field, but 3-14 from behind the arc.