The Middlebury men's basketball team erupted for 55 points in the first half as the Panthers snapped Southern Vermont's seven-game winning streak with a 92-74 victory on Monday in Pepin Gymnasium. The hosts had plenty of balance in the win, as four players reached double figures in scoring, while three posted double-doubles. The Panthers (6-6) are on the road this Friday with a 7:00 p.m. tip-off at Wesleyan, while the Mountaineers (8-3) are home on Saturday, hosting Mitchell at 3:00 p.m.
The game was close for the opening 6:12 with the Mountaineers holding a 15-11 lead after a free throw from Nate Goldsmith.
The Panthers gained control with a 17-1 run over span of 4:10. Eric McCord started the run with a basket from inside the paint, while the next time down the floor, Hilal Dahleh sank a three-pointer. Dahleh's basket from long range gave the hosts their first lead (16-15) of the game with 7:14 expired. The run ended on a three-point basket by Matt St. Amour, as Middlebury pushed the difference to 28-18.
That lead continued to grow for the Panthers, grabbing their biggest advantage of the period at 53-29 with 1:18 on the clock when St. Amour nailed his fifth three-pointer of the half. Middlebury continued its momentum, taking a 55-32 edge into the break. In the opening 20 minutes of play, the Panthers were hot from three-point range, knocking down 66.7 percent (8-12) of their attempts.
In the second half, Southern Vermont got as close as 14 points on several occasions, with the last of those coming at 2:57 mark. The Mountaineers cut Middlebury's lead to 86-72 on a basket by Goldsmith.
The Panthers secured the win in the final minutes scoring six of the game's final eight points.
Middlebury had three players record double-doubles as St. Amour, Zach Baines and Jack Daly each accomplished that feat. St. Amour scored 24 points and snared a career-high 12 rebounds, adding seven assists. Baines had career bests in both points and rebounds as the forward had 11 each to go along with a pair of blocked shots. Daly scored 15 points and dished out a career-high 10 assists, while Matt Daley was the fourth Middlebury player to score in double figures with 16.
As a team, the Panthers cashed in on 10-18 from beyond the arc for 55.6% and held the Mountaineers to just 6-22 (27.3%) from three-point range.
For Southern Vermont, DeShawn Hamlet led the way with 20 points, while Casey Hall posted a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Goldsmith finished with 12 points and Rayshawn Taylor added 10.