The Middlebury men's basketball team capped off a perfect opening weekend, winning 74-58 over Wentworth (2-1) in the championship game of the Middlebury Tournament. The eighth-ranked Panthers (2-0) take to the road for the first time this season with a Tuesday contest at Johnson State beginning at 7:30 p.m.
Middlebury's Jack Daly was selected as the tournament's Most Outstanding Player, finishing the two contests with 35 points, 21 rebounds and 18 assists, including his first career triple-double during Friday's win over Fitchburg State. Matt Folger also earned a spot on the team for the Panthers with a combined 32 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks.
Tied at 8-8 with just under 11 minutes remaining in the opening half, the Panthers rattled off a quick 8-2 run over a span of 1:26, including a four-point play from Max Bosco. The Leopards answered with back-to-back three pointers from Ben Kizel, tying the score at 16-16. Clinging to a one-point edge at 19-18 with 6:19 left, Middlebury put together an 11-2 run covering nearly the next three minutes, capped off on a free throw from Folger. A layup from Adisa Majors in the final seconds of the stanza gave Middlebury a 38-28 edge at the break.
Out of halftime, the Leopards chipped away at the deficit, cutting it to seven (48-41) on a layup from by Matt Vartanian with 14:17 remaining. The Panthers responded with six-straight points on a pair of jumpers from Folger and a fastbreak layup from Bosco for a 13-point lead with just under 11 minutes left. Wentworth clawed back again to within seven (61-54) on a jumper from Jason Ganley with 4:44 remaining, but the Panthers scored the next five points and cruised to the double-digit victory.
Daly led the Panthers with a career-high 25 points, including 20 points in the second half, to go along with six rebounds and six assists. Folger finished with a near double-double of 15 points and nine rebounds as well as three blocks, while Majors added 14 points and seven rebounds off the bench.
For the Leopards, Ganley and Stephen Azums tied for team-high honors with 19 points apiece, while Azums grabbed a game-best 12 rebounds.
The Panthers finished the contest shooting an even 50 percent from the field (30-60), going 15-30 in each half, while limiting Wentworth to just 36.2 percent (21-58).
Joining Daly and Folger on the all-tournament team were Ganley and Azums from Wentworth, along with New England College's Izaiah Winston-Brooks and Fitchburg State's Jerrell Gomes.