Middlebury mounted a late comeback attempt in its first game of 2016, but host Endicott knocked down its free throws over the final minutes for an 82-76 victory Saturday afternoon inside MacDonald Gymnasium. Middlebury (5-6) returns to the court Monday when it hosts Southern Vermont at 6:00 p.m., while the Gulls (5-5) travel to face Curry on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
Endicott took a 32-27 lead into the break at halftime behind a floor-leading eight points apiece from Max Motroni and Kamahl Walker.
In a game that saw four lead chances and five ties, Middlebury gained a five-point lead at 44-39 with 12:38 to play on a jumper in the paint by Hilal Dahleh. The Panther lead didn't last long as Endicott went on a 10-1 run over the next three minutes and took the lead for good.
The Gulls led by as many as 17 (67-50) on a Chris Lipscomb free throw with 4:44 left in the game. The two squads found the scoring column in bunches during the second stanza, combining to score 99 points in the final 20 minutes.
The Panthers converted 6-11 from beyond the arc in the second half to finish 8-17 for the game. Matt St. Amour made five three-pointers on his way to a team-leading 21 points. Jack Daly and Connor Huff also scored in double figures, as they chipped in 13 and 11 points, respectively. Daly led the team with nine rebounds to go along with four assists, while Jake Brown tied for game-high honors with six assists. Matt Daley finished with a near double-double of eight points and eight boards.
Motroni led the Gulls with 22 points and pulled down six rebounds, hitting a career-high 16-18 from the stripe. As a team, the Gulls were 31-37 at the free throw line, including 23-29 in the second half. The Gulls placed a total of three in double figures, as Walker and Daquan Sampson tallied 20 points and 16 points, respectively.