A furious comeback attempt by the Middlebury men's basketball team in overtime came up just short, as #25 York (Pa.) prevailed 90-87 during the Washington & Lee Holiday Tournament in the Warner Center. The second-ranked Panthers (6-1) return to action on Saturday afternoon in the consolation game at 2:00 p.m. when they face Clarks Summit, a 105-78 loser in the day's first contest to the host Generals. The Spartans (10-0) square off with Washington & Lee at 4:00 p.m. in the tournament's championship matchup. Friday's game was Middlebury's first contest after 21 days off for the semester break.
In the opening half, Middlebury jumped out to a 7-2 lead, capped off on an old-fashioned three-point play from Matt Folger with 17:27 left. The Spartans chipped away at the deficit, taking a two-point lead (15-13) on a three-point field goal from Joey Polczynski just under three minutes later. York gradually increased its edge to 11 points at 30-19 via a three by Zach Novick with 7:10 showing on the first-half clock.
The Panthers put together a 7-0 run over the ensuing 1:25, highlighted by four points from Jack Farrell, slicing the Spartan edge to 30-26 with 5:45 remaining. York increased its lead back to seven three more times over the remainder of the stanza, before a jumper from Folger and a pair of free throws from Farrell pulled the Panthers to within three (37-34) headed to the locker room.
Out of the break, York started the half with 16 of the initial 24 points, grabbing a 53-42 lead with 14:02 left on a three from Darin Gordon. An 8-0 run by Middlebury over the ensuing 2:42 drew the Panthers to within three (53-50). The Spartans responded with an 8-0 spurt of their own, regaining an 11-point advantage on a layup by Dalton Myers with 8:59 left.
With York holding a 70-60 lead with 4:16 remaining, the Panthers outscored the Spartans by a 14-2 count over a span of 2:40, grabbing a two-point lead (74-72) on a free throw from Farrell with 36 ticks left. A layup from York's Bladye Reich with 24 seconds on the clock knotted the contest at 74-74. After a Middlebury turnover, the Spartans had a chance to win the game on a three from the corner by Matt Scamuffo, but the attempt rattled in and out, sending the game to overtime.
After the teams traded baskets on their initial possessions in the extra stanza, York recorded a 9-2 run, securing an 85-78 lead on a free throw by Jason Bady with 1:17 remaining. After a free throw from York's Mike Frauenheim with 32 seconds left made the score 87-79, the Panthers scored eight of the next 10 points, capped on a three from Folger with 10 seconds left. After a turnover by each team, Gordon knocked down 1-2 free throws with 4.4 seconds left, giving York a 90-87 lead. Racing the ball up the floor, a deep game-tying three attempt from the right wing by Farrell hit the back of the rim and caromed away.
Folger led four Panthers in double figures with a career-high 22 points to go along with a game-best 12 rebounds. Jack Daly finished with 20 points, five assists and tied for game-high honors with four steals. Hilal Dahleh and Farrell both chipped in with 11 points, while Nick Tarantino produced a near double-double of nine points and 11 rebounds. Farrell also added a contest-best five steals to go along with four assists.
Myers finished with 19 points to lead the Spartans to go along with seven rebounds. Scamuffo tacked on 16 points for York, while Reich had 15 and Bady added 14. Reich concluded his night with 10 rebounds for the double-double, while Bady collected four blocked shots for the Spartans.