The Middlebury men's basketball team fell in its regular-season finale at Trinity 97-86 on Saturday. The Panthers (14-10, 6-4) have earned the fourth seed for the upcoming NESCAC Tournament and hosts fifth-seeded Wesleyan in a quarterfinal next Saturday. Middlebury posted an 86-76 road win over the Cardinals on January 8. Trinity (18-6, 9-1) secured the top seed in tournament.
The Panthers and Trinity got off to a fast start, combining for 14 points in the opening 1:46 of the game. Jake Brown gave the Panthers a 7-5 lead, before Ed Ogundeko tied the game on a jump shot.
After a bucket by Trinity's Andrew Hurd, the Panthers scored the game's next five points. Jack Daly converted on a traditional three-point play and Connor Huff followed with a jumper. That modest 5-0 run put Middlebury in front 12-9.
The teams were tied again at 16-16, but back-to-back baskets by Ogundeko kicked off a 10-2 run for the hosts. That spurt gave the Bantams a 26-18 lead with 7:40 left in the first half.
The Panthers closed the game to three points (26-23), when Liam Naughton hit a three-pointer and Matt St. Amour sank a pair of free throws. Trinity outscored Middlebury 17-10 the rest of the half for a 43-33 advantage after 20 minutes.
The Panthers opened the scoring in the new half on a bucket by Adisa Majors, but the Bantams scored seven points in 43 seconds to push the lead back to double figures (50-35).
Trinity kept the difference in double digits the rest of the game and took its biggest lead at 76-58 with 6:31 remaining.
Majors had solid game for the Panthers with a team-high 15 points on 7-12 shooting from the floor and added a team-best eight rebounds. Bryan Jones made 5-6 shots to tie a season high with 14 points, while St. Amour had 12 points. Huff contributed with seven points and six boards.
Trinity's Jaquann Starks led all players with 20 points, while Shay Ajayi and Ogundeka each netted 16. Ogundeko also snared a game-high 11 rebounds.