Middlebury Tops Lycoming to Win NCAA Regional

Matt Folger recorded a career-high 18 points during Saturday's NCAA victory over Lycoming.
Matt Folger recorded a career-high 18 points during Saturday's NCAA victory over Lycoming.

Matt St. Amour scored a game-high 30 points as Middlebury advanced to the Sweet 16 of the 2017 NCAA Basketball Tournament with a 95-76 triumph over Lycoming in a sold out Pepin Gymnasium. The sixth-ranked Panthers (26-3) move into the third round of the tournament for the first time in four years, facing Endicott at a site to be determined on Sunday. The other match-up in the sectional will be Susquehanna taking on Williams. Fifteenth-ranked Lycoming finishes its season at 24-5.

In the victory, St. Amour continued his assault on the program's record book, establishing two new marks. He took over the record for most points in a single season, raising his total to 641, surpassing John Humphrey '88, who held the mark for more than 25 years. St. Amour became the program's career leader in three-pointers with 246, edging past Jason Prenevost '95, who had 244. The Panther guard also extended his single-season record for three pointers to 112.

The game was close early as the teams were tied three times in the opening five minutes. The hosts grabbed a 13-8 lead with a modest 5-0 run on a traditional three-point play by St. Amour and a put back by Adisa Majors. The Warriors forced the fourth tie of the contest at 17-17 with 10:46 on the clock when Calvin Chandler knocked down a three-pointer from the top of the key.

After the teams traded buckets to knot the score at 19-19, Middlebury exploded for a 19-0 run covering a span of 4:03. Matt Folger started the outburst when he was fouled on a two-handed dunk and made the free throw completing the conventional three-point play. St. Amour made back-to-back three pointers to quickly extend the lead to 28-19. Folger and St. Amour each converted another three-point play to cap the burst as Middlebury led 38-19 with 6:38 on the clock.

The Warriors got back to within 41-28 with in the final minutes on free throws by Darius James, but the Panthers scored nine of the next 11 points. Bryan Jones capped the run with a three-pointer from the right wing, giving the hosts their biggest lead of the half at 50-30. After two more foul shots by James, Jones ended the half with a reverse lay-up as time expired, putting the Panthers in front 52-50.

Lycoming started the second stanza with an 8-2 run to close to within 54-40 following an offensive put back by James. Middlebury responded in a hurry when Daly and St. Amour drained three pointers to push the difference back to 20 (60-40) with less than four minutes expired.

The Panthers led by 20 again minutes later, coming on one of the best plays of the game. St. Amour saved the ball from going out of bounds by tossing a perfect behind-the-back pass to a breaking Daly. Daly drove the lane to make the layup and was fouled in the process. He sank the free throw, making it a 70-50 contest.

Middlebury's biggest lead of the game (24) came with 8:18 remaining when Nick Tarantino converted twice from the charity stripe to make the score 85-61. The Warriors never got closer than 17 points the rest of the game as the Panthers extended their winning streak to 13 games.

Folger had a huge game off of the bench for Middlebury, scoring a career-high 18 points with five rebounds. Daly contributed 14 points and six assists, while Majors recorded his second double-double in as many nights with 12 points and 11 boards. Jake Brown was the catalyst of the offense, dishing out a game-high 10 assists. In addition to his 30 points, St. Amour added four steals and five rebounds, while shooting 11-20 from the floor.

James topped Lycoming with 13 points, while T.J. Duckett netted 12. Nyk King also scored in double figures with 10 points and had a team-best five assists.

Middlebury shot 48.6 percent (36-74) from the floor, while the Warriors made 40.6 (26-64) of their attempts. The Panthers held a 48-32 advantage on the glass and had a 24-6 edge in second-chance points.