Middlebury Pulls Away Late in Victory Over Williams

Adisa Majors posted 16.5 ppg and 7.0 rpg last weekend.
Adisa Majors posted 16.5 ppg and 7.0 rpg last weekend.

Middlebury outscored Williams by an 8-2 count over the final 3:06 on its way to a 75-69 NESCAC victory Sunday in Pepin Gymnasium. With the victory, the Panthers snap a five-game losing skid to the Ephs in the 108th meeting between the two programs. The Panthers (10-7, 4-1), winners of their last three contests, move into a tie for second in the league standings and will hit the road for a 7:00 p.m. non-conference game Tuesday at Lyndon State. Williams (12-6, 3-3) hosts Amherst on Wednesday in a non-conference contest at 7:00 p.m.

The teams stayed within striking distance of each other early, as the opening 4:54 saw three ties and a pair of lead changes. The Panthers clung to a 12-11 edge with 13:19 remaining in the half, but the Ephs rattled off a 7-2 run over a span of 4:14. That burst was capped off by a pair of free throws from Cole Teal for a 19-14 lead. Middlebury chipped away at the deficit, cutting it to a single point (24-23) on a fastbreak layup by Jack Daly with 6:53 left.

Williams slowly pushed its lead back to seven at 35-28 with 3:42 left on a three-point field goal from Jake Porath, his only points of the game. The teams knocked down baskets over the final minutes, as a pair of Matt Daley free throw makes with one second left pulled the Panthers to within five (41-36) at the halftime break.

Out of the intermission, the Ephs maintained between a five- and eight-point lead for the opening seven minutes. A layup by Williams' James Heskett put the visitors in front by seven (49-42) with 13:07 remaining, but Middlebury put together a 12-0 run over the next 4:22 for a 54-49 lead with 8:45 left. Adisa Majors scored six points during the Panther run on two fastbreak layups and a pair of free throws.

The Ephs regained a one-point lead (58-57) with a 9-3 run over the next few minutes, capped off via a three-pointer from the top of the key by Daniel Aronowitz at 6:31. The teams went back and forth with five ties over the ensuing 3:25, as a layup by Williams' Kyle Scadlock knotted the score at 67-67. On the ensuing Middlebury possession, Matt St. Amour gave the hosts the lead for good when he canned a three-pointer from the right wing.

Williams pulled to within one on two free throws with 1:59 left by Bobby Casey, but a baseline jumper by Majors increased the Panther advantage to three (72-69). Both teams came up empty on their next possessions, as Middlebury gained possession on a steal by Majors with 53 seconds left. Working the clock down, St. Amour missed a 15-foot jumper but Majors corralled a huge offensive rebound with 29 seconds left, as Daly was fouled and knocked down 1-2 free throws. Williams missed a layup on the other end, and Majors sealed the win with two charity tosses.

St. Amour led the Panthers with 20 points, including 5-8 from three-point range, to go along with four rebounds and three assists. Daley added 14 points and a team-high seven rebounds, while Majors came off the bench to contribute 10 points, all in the second half, along with four rebounds and a pair of blocked shots in 16 minutes.

Zach Baines chipped in with nine points and six rebounds, while Daly had eight points and a game-best eight assists. Majors and Daley helped the Middlebury bench outscore the Eph reserves, 32-15.

The Panther defense forced Williams into 18 turnovers, while tying a season-low with just eight miscues. 

Aronowitz tied St. Amour for game-high honors with 20 points and pulled down a game-best 11 rebounds. Teal had 16 points, including four threes, along with five assists, while Scadlock also ended with 16 points for the Ephs.