The Middlebury men's basketball team saw its eight-game winning streak come to an end as the 15th-ranked Panthers fell 91-85 on the road at #6 Tufts (12-2, 3-0) on Friday night. Middlebury (11-2, 2-1) returns to action on Saturday with a 3:00 p.m. tip-off at Bates.
The hosts jumped out to a 9-0 lead as Middlebury missed its first six shots from the floor. Trailing 18-12, the Panthers went on a 9-0 burst of their own, with two threes from Matt St. Amour and one from Matt Folger. The buckets gave Middlebury its first lead of the game at 21-18 with 10:07 remaining.
Tufts went on a 9-0 run shortly thereafter, taking a 32-25 lead on a bucket from KJ Garrett at the 6:39 mark. The Jumbos slowly extended their lead as the hosts took a 48-37 lead into the intermission.
Trailing 50-39 early in the second half, Middlebury went on a 19-5 run over a 5:54 span to take a 58-55 lead on a layup from Jake Brown from with 13:40 remaining. St. Amour scored 11 of those points, three coming from behind the arc.
Neither team led by more than four points over the next several minutes, as the contest was tied at 84-84 with 1:11 remaining. Jack Daly hit 1-2 free throws to give the Panthers the lead with 1:01 remaining, but Tom Palleschi gave the hosts an 86-85 advantage when he connected with 46 ticks on the clock. The Panthers missed on the other end of the floor before Tarik Smith went 2-2 from the line to put the Jumbos up 88-85 with 18 seconds left to play. The Panthers were unable to get a shot off on the other end, as they turned the ball over and Tufts went on to the 91-85 win.
St. Amour netted a game-high 23 points to pace Middlebury, while Eric McCord scored a career-high 22 points on 8-12 shooting to go along with eight rebounds. Brown added 11 points and seven assists, Nick Tarantino scored eight with eight boards, while Daly finished with seven points and 10 rebounds.
All five Tufts starters scored in double figures, led by 16 points from Everett Dayton.