Connor Huff scored a career-high 20 points as the Middlebury men's basketball team landed 11 players in the scoring column during a 94-56 road victory Tuesday evening over in-state foe Castleton. The Panthers (10-2) will return to the court Friday evening and jump back into NESCAC play when they host Wesleyan at 7:00 p.m.
Castleton (4-7), who trailed by just eight at halftime, connected on 44.1 percent of its shots in the opening half but went just 3-28 in the second and were outrebounded 59-37 overall. The Panthers shot 43.2 percent for the game and recorded 26 second-chance points, most of which came in the second half. Middlebury, who ranks 12th nationally in assists per game, recorded helpers on 26 of its 32 field goals.
Chad Copeland led two players in double figures for the Spartans, scoring 17 points and pulling down eight rebounds, while Rob Coloutti added 11 points and five boards. Carnelius Green chipped in with seven points, seven rebounds, two blocks and two steals, while Tondi Mushandu went for nine points and four assists without a turnover.
Huff's 20 points led three players in double figures for the Panthers. Dylan Sinnickson added 17 points and nine rebounds, while Matt St. Amour recorded 10 points and five assists. Running the offense, Jake Brown tied a career-high total with nine assists and added seven rebounds.
Both teams started the game with the shooting touch. After falling behind 12-7 early, the Spartans went on a 7-0 run to go ahead 14-12 on a Coloutti triple with 13:22 left in the half.
Sinnickson tied the game up 18 seconds later and the two teams traded baskets until a free throw from Mushandu pulled Castleton within one, 20-19 with 9:00 minutes remaining. Middlebury pushed its lead to six, 29-23, but another three from Coloutti kept it close.
The Panthers tried to extend their advantage against the Spartans, but Coloutti connected on another triple with 4:45 left to make it 34-31. However, Sinnickson responded with a shot from beyond the arc seven seconds later to jump-start a 12-2 spurt to give Middlebury a 46-33 lead with 2:11 left. Castleton scored the final five points of the half and trailed 46-38 at the break.
Just 1:21 into the second half, a triple from Green closed the game to 48-41. However, the Spartans missed their next shot and Middlebury responded with the next 13 points, punctuated by an alley-oop from Brown to Sinnickson. Mushandu ended the run at 14:32 to cut the deficit to 61-43, but a 12-3 run over the next six minutes pushed the Panther advantage to 73-46 with 8:29 left. Both teams subbed over the final eight minutes, as Middlebury slowly extended its lead and finished with the 94-56 win.