Trailing by 10 at the halftime break, the Middlebury men's basketball team mounted a comeback attempt in the second half, but fell to visiting Keene State 93-88 Saturday afternoon in Pepin Gymnasium. Playing their third game in five days, the 12th-ranked Panthers (5-1) return to action Tuesday evening at 7:30 p.m. at No. 13 Plattsburgh State. The Owls (4-2) host Rhode Island College on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. The setback snapped a modest 10-game home winning streak for the Panthers.
Tied at 5-5 in the opening half, Keene State rattled off a 9-0 run over a span of 2:17 for a 14-5 lead on a three-point field goal by Ty Nichols. The Panthers chipped away at the deficit, moving to within three (19-16) on a basket from Perry DeLorenzo with 11:46 left. The Owls grabbed a 27-18 lead on a three by DeVon Beasley with 9:33 showing on the clock. The hosts put together an 11-3 spurt covering 5:13 of action, pulling to within one (30-29) on a layup from Alex Sobel at the 4:20 mark. Keene State tallied the ensuing seven points and grabbed a 10-point halftime cushion (45-35) on a layup by Nichols just before the first-half buzzer sounded.
Out of the halftime break, Keene State grabbed its largest lead of the contest of 14 (51-37) on a jumper by Miguel Prieto with 18:05 left. The Panthers slowly cut into the Owl advantage over the next few minutes, moving to within five (59-54) on a dunk by Matt Folger with 10:41 remaining. The Keene State lead hovered between four and seven points over the next few minutes, before Middlebury moved to 76-75 on a jumper from Max Bosco with 3:06 left. The Owls rattled off the next nine points for an 85-75 lead with 1:36 remaining on a layup from Prieto. The visitors knocked down 8-10 free throws down the stretch, earning the 93-88 victory.
Jack Farrell led the Panthers with a career-high 30 points on 11-22 shooting and 6-12 from beyond the arc, while Bosco added 21 points and four assists. Folger chipped in with 15 points and tied his career high with 15 rebounds, to go along with three blocked shots. Eric McCord yanked down 10 boards for the hosts.
Nichols paced Keene State with 26 points to go along with team-high totals of 14 rebounds and seven assists, while James Anozie added 19 points and eight rebounds. Prieto tallied 16 points, Edwin Ezedonmwen had 11, while Sidi Diallo posted 10 markers and six boards.