The Middlebury men's basketball team out-rebounded Bates 45-31 on its way to a 79-71 road win on Saturday afternoon at Alumni Gym. The 15th-ranked Panthers (12-2, 3-1) return to action on Tuesday when they host Green Mountain at 7:00 p.m.
The Bobcats (12-4, 3-1) cut the deficit to two a couple times in the first half, including Malcolm Delpeche's layup which trimmed the score to 9-7 at the 15:15 mark, and Justin Zukowski's old fashioned three-point play that made the score 17-15 in favor of Middlebury with 12 minutes left.
The Panthers went on a 6-0 run to extend their lead to 23-15, capped off by an Eric McCord jumper with 9:37 left in the first.
Bates got to within four points on a layup from Marcus Delpeche with 8:19 to go in the first half. Jake Brown missed a layup on the Panthers' next possession, but Matt Folger got the rebound and kicked it out to Matt St. Amour, who drained a three.
The second-chance points piled up the entire game for the Panthers and a Brown layup with 7:19 to go extended the visitors' lead to 28-19, forcing Bates to call a timeout.
Middlebury led by as many as 18 points in the first half before Bates rallied to cut the lead to 12 at halftime. An Adisa Majors jumper with 2:17 to go extended the Panthers' edge to 39-21, but Malcolm Delpeche responded with a layup, Quin Leary drilled a three and Jerome Darling hit a three as well to make the score 39-29.
St. Amour didn't allow the Bobcats to take the momentum into halftime though, hitting a fadeaway baseline jumper at the buzzer.
The Bobcats outscored the Panthers by four points in the second half, much in part to Spellman scoring all 14 of his points after the halftime break.
Spellman cut the deficit to 11 with 11:35 to go after he made a layup, drawing a foul in the process. His made free throw made the score 54-43 in favor of Middlebury with 11:35 remaining in regulation.
With 10:37 to go, Bryan Jones hit a dagger three to extend the Panther lead back to 14 (57-43) as they went on to the victory.
Brown led all scorers with a career-high 24 points on 8-19 shooting to go along with six assists. St. Amour finished with 14 points, while Nick Tarantino added a double-double of 11 points with 13 rebounds. McCord netted 11 points and six rebounds off the bench.
Jeff Spellman led the Bobcats with 13 points, while Malcome Delpeche and Zukowski each scored a dozen.