Middlebury had four players score in double figures, as the Panthers slowly pulled away from Southern Vermont for an 86-72 road victory Wednesday. Middlebury trailed early in the second half, but outscored the Mountaineers 44-29 over the final 17:12 to earn the win. The Panthers (6-1) wrap up play for the first semester on Saturday when they host Skidmore at 4:00 p.m., while SVC (2-6) faces Fisher on Friday at the Tri-State Shootout Tournament.
The Mountaineers raced out to an early 9-4 lead, but the Panthers went on a 12-2 run over a four-minute span for their first advantage. Adisa Majors started the spurt with back-to-back field goals, while Matt St. Amour put the Panthers in front (11-9) with a three pointer. A free throw by Nick Tarantino and buckets by Majors and Bryan Jones gave Middlebury its biggest advantage of the half at 16-11 with 13:09 on the clock.
The teams remained close throughout the rest of the opening frame with six ties following the Panther run. Davante Jackson gave SVC a 29-26 lead with 5:53 on the clock, but Middlebury used a modest 7-2 surge in the final 1:19 of the half for a 40-36 lead at the break. Jack Daly scored four of those points with Matt Folger connecting from three-point range.
In the second stanza, the Panthers trailed 43-42 following two free throws by Rayshawn Taylor, but took the lead for good on their next two possessions. A lay-up by Zach Baines gave the visitors a 44-43 and the sophomore followed that up with a dunk on the team's next trip down the floor for a three-point lead.
Middlebury led by double digits for the first time (71-61) on a trey by Jones and finished with its biggest margin at the final horn.
Daly had a tremendous game for the Panthers, leading the team in both points (20) and rebounds (eight), while adding seven assists. Majors tied a career high with 18 points and Jake Brown recorded a double-double with 11 points and 10 assists. Brown moved into fourth place (420) on the program's career list for assists, breaking a tie with Mike Faucher '99 (410). Baines also reached double figures with 10 points. Tarantino provided a spark off of the bench with eight points and seven rebounds in 16 minutes of action.
For SVC, Taylor led all players with 23 points, while Malik Green netted 14 points and collected seven rebounds.