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.