No. 18 Panthers Utilize First-Half Runs in Win Over Skidmore

Eric McCord finished with 18 points and a career-best 16 rebounds in the win over Skidmore.
Eric McCord finished with 18 points and a career-best 16 rebounds in the win over Skidmore.

Behind a pair of first-half runs, Middlebury eased away from visiting Skidmore for a 71-54 victory Saturday in Pepin Gymnasium. The 18th-ranked Panthers (6-2) return to action on Monday, December 17 when they travel to the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford for a 2:00 p.m. contest, while the Thoroughbreds (4-3) host Vassar on Tuesday at 7:00 p.m.

Trailing 11-10 nearly seven minutes into the first half, the hosts put together a 12-0 run spanning 2:53 of action for a 22-11 lead on an old-fashioned three-point play from Griffin Kornaker. The Thoroughbreds chipped away at the deficit, moving to within 26-19 on a pair of free throws by Greg Skoric with 4:14 left before halftime. Middlebury rattled off a 10-2 spurt over the ensuing 2:01, grabbing a 36-21 advantage on a three from Kornaker. The Panther lead grew to 17 (43-26) in the final seconds on a jumper by Max Bosco.  

Out of the intermission, Middlebury tallied 10 of the first 12 points of the second stanza, capped by a layup from Eric McCord for a 53-28 lead with 16:09 remaining. The advantage increased to as many as 27 (58-31) on a three from Kornaker with 14:49 showing on the clock. The Panthers maintained nearly a 20-point advantage over the remainder of the contest, cruising to the 71-54 victory.

McCord led three players in double figures with 18 points on 8-11 shooting from the floor. He pulled down a career-high 16 rebounds, giving him 511 in his career. Matt Folger posted 14 points and eight rebounds, while Bosco ended with 11 points and three assists. Jack Farrell corralled a career-best nine boards to go along with a team-high five assists.  

Noah Meren led all scorers with 20 points to go along with seven rebounds for Skidmore, while Edvinas Rupkus had 12 points and Skoric added 10.

Middlebury, ranked second nationally as a team in blocked shots, swatted seven Skidmore attempts, led by three from Alex Sobel and two from Folger.