Jack Daly scored a career-high 23 points to lead #16 Middlebury (16-3) to an 89-77 victory over Keene State on Tuesday evening in Pepin Gymnasium. The Panthers return to NESCAC action on the road Friday when they face Colby at 7:00 p.m., while the Owls visit Southern Maine on Saturday at 1:00 p.m.
With the score tied at 10-10 at the 17:18 mark of the opening half, Middlebury rattled off an 8-2 run spanning 3:26, capped off on a three-point field goal by Jake Brown, for an 18-12 edge. The Owls responded by scoring eight of the next 13 points, cutting the Panther lead to three (23-20) on a lay-up by Jaquel Edwards with 7:31 left in the half.
The hosts answered with a 14-2 run over the ensuing 3:04 of play, with four different players scoring during the spurt, for a 37-22 advantage at the 4:27 mark. That lead continued to grow to as many as 17 at 44-27 on a lay-up from Matt St. Amour with 1:12 showing on the clock, as the Panthers took that lead into the halftime break.
Out of the locker room, the Owls scored the opening 10 points of the second half, cutting the Panther edge to seven (44-37) on a jumper from Edwards with 16:47 left. The visitors hung around over the next few minutes until an old-fashioned three-point play by St. Amour gave Middlebury a double-digit lead. The Owls clawed their way back into the contest, pulling to within seven at 59-52 on a lay-up by Jeff Lunn.
A fast-break dunk by Middlebury's Matt Folger capped a run of six-straight points for a 65-52 Panther lead. The Owls cut the deficit to seven on four different occasions over the next few minutes, with the final time coming at the 3:20 mark (74-67) on a pair of free throws by Lucas Hammel. Middlebury iced the contest over the remainder of the half, going 10-12 from the free-throw line to nail down the win.
Daly's 23 points came on 7-13 shooting from the floor and was a portion of a near triple-double effort with 10 rebounds and seven assists. St. Amour went 6-12, scoring 20 points with six rebounds and a game-best four steals. Brown chipped in with 14 points and seven assists, becoming the second Panther to eclipse the 500-career assist total with an even 500. Eric McCord also had a double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds, while Nick Tarantino added eight points and six rebounds.
Ty Nichols led Keene State with a double-double consisting of 22 points and a team-high 10 rebounds to go along with three steals. Edwards added 16 points and six rebounds, Ozzella had 12 points and five rebounds, while Hammel tacked on 11 points.
The Panthers held a decided 51-34 rebounding edge in the game and dished out 19 assists.