Middlebury’s Hot Shooting Proves Too Much for Johnson State

Eric McCord scored 10 points and pulled down five rebounds off the bench in Thursday's win over Johnson State.
Eric McCord scored 10 points and pulled down five rebounds off the bench in Thursday's win over Johnson State.

The Middlebury men's basketball team scored the game's first seven points and utilized a 10-0 run in the first 8:45 of play en route to a 95-48 road victory against Johnson State. The Panthers defeated the Badgers for the second time in the last five days, as Middlebury (3-4) cruised past Johnson State (0-6) by a 103-63 count during the UR/Holiday Inn Tournament on Sunday. The Panthers complete a stretch of their first eight games away from Pepin Gymnasium to open the season on Saturday when they travel to Skidmore for a 4:00 p.m. tipoff.

The Panthers, who never trailed in the game, quickly scored the game's first seven points on layups by Connor Huff and Matt Daley as well as a three-point field goal from Matt St. Amour. The Badgers chipped away and cut the deficit to three at 12-9 via a three from Rahim Bunch at the 14:14 mark, but the visitors rattled off a 10-0 run spanning the next 2:59 on three-pointers by Jack Daly and Liam Naughton as well as layups from Nick Tarantino and Eric McCord.

Johnson State put together a 7-2 spurt over the next 2:41 on a three-point field goal from Benjamin Holl, a jumper by Derek Ashley and a layup by Bunch, cutting the Panther lead to eight (24-16) with 8:34 remaining in the opening half. Over the next 3:03, Middlebury scored nine of the game's next 12 points, capped off on a layup by St. Amour at 5:31 for a 33-19 advantage. The Panther lead continued to grow as Middlebury outscored the Badgers by 12-2 over the remainder of the half, including a layup by Daly with eight second left for a 45-21 halftime edge.

The Panthers saw nine different players score in the first half and shot 20-34 from the field for just under 59 percent, while Johnson State was held to just 30 percent on 9-30 attempts and 3-12 (25%) from beyond the arc.

Out of the half, Middlebury tallied 10 of the first 16 points of the stanza over the opening 3:10 capped off by a three-pointer from St. Amour and held a 28-point bulge at 55-27. The Badgers never threatened again in the second half and cruised to the victory.

Middlebury featured a balanced attack that had 13 players find the scoring column, led by St. Amour's 19 points on 7-10 shooting and 5-7 from beyond the arc in just 19 minutes. McCord finished with a season-best 10 points on 5-8 shooting and added five rebounds off the bench, while Daly chipped in with nine points on a perfect 4-4 shooting to go along with six rebounds and a team-high six assists.

Daley added eight points and a team-best eight rebounds, as the Panthers outrebounded Johnson State by a 49-16 count. Huff finished with eight points, six rebounds and a pair of blocked shots.

As a team, Middlebury knocked down a season-best 66.2 percent of its shots from the floor (43-65) and outscored Johnson State by a 66-24 count in the paint. Defensively, the Panthers limited the Badgers to just 32.8 percent from the field for the game (19-58) and 22.7% from beyond the arc (5-22).

Bunch led Johnson State with 14 points going 6-11 from the floor along with a game-best four steals, while Ashley chipped in with 10 points.