Middlebury had six players score in double figures and never trailed as the Panthers cruised to a 115-82 NESCAC victory Saturday over visiting Hamilton. Middlebury shot a blistering 62 percent (44-71) from the floor and nearly matched that effort from three-point range, making 16-27 (59.3 percent). The 22nd-ranked Panthers (15-3, 4-2) are home Tuesday when they face Keene State at 7:30 p.m., while the Continentals (13-5, 3-3) host Keystone at 6:00 p.m.
Middlebury started the game hot from behind the three-point arc, connecting three times in the opening 2:52. Matt St. Amour hit a pair and Jack Daly added another as the Panthers jumped out to an 11-0 lead. Hamilton closed the margin to 18-12 on a jumper by Tim Doyle with 12:24 remaining, but a 10-0 run by Middlebury extended the lead back to double digits (28-12). Bryan Jones accounted for eight points in that burst, sinking two three-pointers and a jumper.
The Continentals never got any closer than 13 points (28-15) the rest of the first half, while the Panthers took their biggest lead at 55-33 on a lay-up by Adisa Majors with 33 seconds on the clock. Two free throws by Vincent Conn in the final seconds made it a 55-35 advantage for the hosts at the break.
Middlebury netted the initial six points in the second stanza, extending its lead to 61-35. Hamilton used a modest 8-0 run, sparked by six points from Kena Gilmour, to close to within 63-44, but it marked the final time the visitors were closer than 20 points. The Panthers led by at least 30 points for the final 8:43, taking the biggest lead of the contest at 99-62 on a three by St. Amour with 5:25 left.
The Panthers eclipsed the century mark the next trip down the floor when Jones put back an offensive rebound, as the Panthers finished the game with a season-high 115 points, the most since the 2012-13 season in a 117-81 victory over Green Mountain. It marked the third time in the last four games Middlebury has scored at least 100 points.
Jones had a huge game for the hosts, finishing with a career-high 25 points on 9-13 shooting from the floor and 5-7 from three-point range. St. Amour netted 23 points and hit 5-9 from long range, becoming the second player in program history to reach 200 career three-pointers. He has 201 in 89 career games. Daly scored 13 points, while Eric McCord, Jake Brown and Majors each finished with 10 to round out the balanced attack. Brown just missed a double-double, dishing out a game-high nine assists, to move into second place in career assists at Middlebury with 493. Nick Tarantino topped the Panthers with eight rebounds.
Gilmour paced the Continentals with 19 points, while Andrew Groll netted 13 points and grabbed seven boards.
Hamilton shot 44.8 percent (30-67) from the floor and went 8-25 from long range, but was 1-14 from that distance in the opening half. Middlebury shot over 50 percent in both halves, including an impressive 73.3 percent (22-30) in the final 20 minutes. The Panthers also shot 7-10 from three-point range in the final stanza. On the glass, the hosts held a 42-27 edge.