Middlebury placed five players in double figures and shot 60 percent from the floor in the second half, on its way to a 90-80 win over Castleton State (1-3) in Pepin Gym. The Panthers wrap up their semester on Saturday with a 4:00 p.m. game at Skidmore.
Castleton came out strong with red-hot shooting early on. The Spartans connected on six of their first nine three-point attempts to take a 29-22 lead on a trey from Steve Rosemond with 9:48 left in the first half.
The Panthers answered with a 7-0 run, behind a bucket from Jake Brown to come within one at 30-29 with 7:21 remaining. The game went back and forth before a three from Middlebury’s Joey Kizel gave the Panthers their first lead of the game, 37-36 with 3:03 remaining. Despite a late put-back by Jack Roberts, Castleton went into the locker room with a 42-41 lead.
The Spartans shot 57.1 percent from the floor in the first half, knocking down 7-12 (.583) from long range. The Panthers controlled the boards with a 22-12 advantage, including 15 second chance points.
Middlebury led by one early in the second half before back-to-back threes from Rob Coloutii and Rosemond put Castleton on top, 54-49. The Spartans later led by six when the Panthers went on a 9-0 run to take a 60-57 lead on a hoop from Nate Bulluck with 12:29 remaining.
The Panthers held a slim lead for the next 10 minutes when Logan White knocked down a three to tie the game at 78-78 with 3:04 remaining. Castleton scored only two more points in the game, going 0-2 from the floor (both threes), committing two turnovers and hitting 2-4 from the line. Conversely, Middlebury scored on its first five possessions following the tie.
James Jensen led Middlebury’s offense, scoring a career-high 22 points, 12 of them coming from the line (12-15). Kizel added 19 points and four assists, while Hunter Merryman had 14 points, seven rebounds and four helpers. Roberts blocked a career-best nine shots in the game, to go along with 12 points and seven rebounds on 6-7 shooting from the floor. Bulluck added a career-high 10 points in the win.
White led all scorers with 24 points for Castleton, Chad Copeland scored 18, while Rosemond netted 16.