Defensive Effort Propels Men’s Basketball Past Plattsburgh State

Matt St. Amour scores in the first half of Saturday's victory over Plattsburgh State. (photo courtesy of Will Costello)
Matt St. Amour scores in the first half of Saturday's victory over Plattsburgh State. (photo courtesy of Will Costello)

The Middlebury men's basketball team had all 13 players score, and held visiting Plattsburgh State to just 27.3 percent from the field (18-66) during a 71-49 victory Saturday afternoon over the Cardinals. The Panthers, who concluded their first-semester schedule with a 5-5 record, return to the court on Saturday, January 2, when they travel to Endicott for a 2:00 p.m. game, while Plattsburgh State (4-2) plays Stevenson next Saturday in Florida.

In the opening 4:33 of the first half, the visitors eased out to an 8-2 advantage capped off by a fastbreak dunk from Xavier Thomas. Middlebury responded with a 13-0 run over the next 2:36, highlighted by a three-point field goal and a pair of lay-ups from Matt St. Amour, for a 15-8 edge with 12:51 left.

Following a Cardinal timeout on their ensuing possession, Eli Bryant hit a running jumper in the lane, cutting the Panther lead to five at 15-10. Middlebury answered when it tallied eight of the game's next 11 points over a span of 7:18, capped by a circus shot in the lane from Jake Brown on the break. That basket gave the hosts a double-digit lead (23-13) with just over five minutes remaining in the opening half.

A little more than a minute later, Bryant sliced the Panther lead to seven at 23-16 on a deep three from the right wing, but the Panthers recorded 13 of the stanza's final 14 points for a 36-17 halftime edge. St. Amour concluded the scoring with a long-distance shot from the left wing with three seconds showing on the clock on an assist from Brown.

Out of the halftime break, Middlebury grabbed its largest lead of the game of 34 (52-18) via a 16-1 run over the initial 6:32 of action. The Panther scoring outburst was capped off on an old-fashioned three-point play by Matt Daley. During the run, the Panther defense limited the Cardinals to just one free throw, as the visitors missed their first nine shots of the stanza.

Both teams emptied their respective benches over the remainder of the game as the Panthers cruised to the victory.

St. Amour led a balanced scoring attack for Middlebury with game-high totals of 19 points and four steals to go along with five rebounds. Daley added 12 points and a team-high eight rebounds in just 19 minutes, Hilal Dahleh had eight points and four boards, while Zach Baines chipped in with six points and seven rebounds for the hosts.

Plattsburgh State was paced by Bryant with 18 points, including four three-point field goals, while Thomas added nine points and eight boards. Kyle Richardson secured a game-high 12 rebounds for the visitors.