Joey Kizel tied a career-high with 30 points Friday evening lifting Middlebury to an 85-64 NESCAC victory over Colby in Pepin Gym. The Panthers (14-7, 4-3) complete the home portion of their regular season schedule Sunday afternoon when they play host to Bowdoin at 3:00 p.m., while Colby takes on Maine-Presque Isle on Tuesday at 7:00 p.m.
Kizel tallied his 30 points converting career-highs in field goals made (11-17) and three-pointers made (6-8) while going 2-2 at the free throw line. In 38 minutes played, he also dished out nine assists and added five rebounds.
Colby (12-9, 3-5) scored the first basket and grabbed its lone lead of the game 15 seconds in when Chris Hudnut rolled to the basket and dunked a pass from Connor O’Neill. Middlebury responded with a 10-2 run over the next 3:26, finished on a put-back lay-up from Jack Roberts. At the 11:51 mark, the Mules chipped away and cut the Panther edge to two at 16-14 on a three-pointer from O’Neill.
The hosts utilized a 15-4 run, including seven from Kizel, over the ensuing 4:27 and held a 13-point lead, 31-18. That advantage grew to as many as 16 with 1:10 left on the first-half clock on a lay-up by James Jensen as the Panthers took a 14-point lead (44-30) into the halftime break.
Out of the intermission, the visitors scored five of the first six points and sliced the Panther advantage to 10 (45-35) with 18:17 remaining on a jumper from Patrick Stewart. Middlebury answered with an 8-2 spurt of its own via a three-pointer from Hunter Merryman and a basket and three-pointer from Kizel as the lead grew to 53-37 at the 16:18 mark. Colby again responded with an 8-3 run, capped off on a pair of charity tosses from Stewart and cut the Middlebury lead to 56-45 with 13:40 left. The hosts rattled off a 15-4 run over the 4:21 capped off by a pair of free throws from Dylan Sinnickson and held a 71-49 lead. Colby would get no closer than a 16-point deficit the rest of the way as Middlebury cruised to the win.
In addition to Kizel’s career night, Sinnickson finished with 20 points on 7-11 shooting to go along with six rebounds. Roberts produced a nice all-around game for the Panthers with eight points, a team-high seven rebounds and a pair of blocks.
Colby was led by Stewart’s double-double of 20 points and 10 boards, while Hudnut finished with 18 points and nine caroms.
As a team, the Panthers converted a season-high 58.8 percent (10-17) shots from beyond the arc, while limiting the Mules to just 27.3 percent (6-22).