The Middlebury men's basketball team captured the Ramada Roundball Invitational tournament at the University of New England by defeating the host Nor'easters (1-1) by a final of 69-67. A put-back by Connor Huff as time expired gave the Panthers (2-0) the victory. Middlebury returns to action next weekend at the Bridgewater State Tournament.
A see-saw first half saw the game tied on five different occasions. Middlebury's largest lead came at 10-5 on a bucket from Dylan Sinnickson. UNE led by as many as four, as a late hoop from Sinnickson gave the Panthers a narrow 34-32 lead at the break.
Middlebury opened up an eight-point lead at 41-34 on another hoop from Sinnickson at the 16:51 mark. UNE responded with an 8-2 run to make it a one-point game. The Panthers extended their lead to seven once again, before the Nor'easters later tied the game at 57-57 with 5:44 remaining.
UNE took its first lead of the half on a three from Devin Thompson shortly thereafter, putting his team up 60-59.
A pair of free throws from Jake Brown with 1:19 remaining gave Middlebury a two-point edge at 67-65. Thompson knocked down a pair for the Nor'easters with 16 seconds remaining, leaving the Panthers a chance to win the game. Sinnickson's runner from the left side was rebounded by Huff, who quickly put home the rebound as time expired.
Sinnickson finished with 16 points and 14 rebounds, Hunter Merryman scored 15 in the game, while Matt St. Amour added 10. Huff finished with nine points and eight rebounds, while Brown dished out five assists. The Panthers held a 52-38 rebounding advantage for the game.
Thompson led all scorers with 31 points, including 13-13 from the charity stripe.
Sinnickson was named the tournament Most Valuable Player, while Merryman also earned a spot on the all-tournament team.