Middlebury utilized a 12-2 run to end Friday's NESCAC opener, earning a 92-80 home victory over Connecticut College (4-7, 0-1) in Pepin Gymnasium. The 24th-ranked Panthers (10-3, 1-0) return to action on Saturday when they host Wesleyan starting at 3:00 p.m., while the Camels travel to Williams at the same time.
Ahead 11-8 at the 15:22 mark of the opening half, the hosts rattled off a 9-2 run for a 20-10 advantage on a layup by Alex Sobel with 12:44 left. Conn. College slowly chipped away at the deficit, pulling to within 34-33 on a jumper by Phil Leotsakos at the 6:31 mark. Middlebury put together another 9-2 spurt spanning 2:45, grabbing a 43-35 edge on two free throws from Hilal Dahleh. The Camels tallied eight of the next 10 points, slicing into the lead (45-43) before a layup from Middlebury's Max Bosco in the final seconds gave the Panthers a 47-43 halftime edge.
Out of the break, Conn. College tallied the first six points, taking their first lead at 49-47 on a layup by David Labossiere at the 17:57 mark. Middlebury managed an 8-2 run over a span of 3:12, pulling ahead 55-51 on two charity tosses by Matt Folger before Labossiere brought the Camels to within one via an old-fashioned three-point play. The Panthers reeled off nine quick points over the next 2:18, taking a 64-54 lead on a three from Griffin Kornaker.
The Camels battled back into the contest, regaining the lead at 72-71 on an alley-oop dunk from Labossiere with 6:10 remaining. Middlebury put together seven fast points, before Conn. College answered with a 6-0 run to make the score 80-78 on a basket from Ryan Omslaer with 2:37 remaining. The Panthers put together their decisive 12-2 run, highlighted by seven points from Bosco and five by Eric McCord, and cruised to the 92-80 victory.
Bosco led four Panthers in double figures with a career-high 24 points, including four threes, while McCord added 21 points on 10-13 shooting from the floor to go along with eight rebounds. Folger added 17 points and had a team-best three steals, while Kornaker had 10 points and six assists. Jack Farrell had a nice all-around game with nine points, seven rebounds and a career-best seven assists.
Labossiere paced the visitors with 36 points on 16-25 shooting, while Dan Draffan tallied a double-double of 22 points and 10 rebounds. Omslaer added seven points and 10 boards to go with three blocked shots, while Jack Zimmerman handed out a team-best six helpers.
Middlebury held decisive advantages in points off turnovers (24-4), fast-break points (20-6) and bench points (31-4). The Panthers committed a season-low five turnovers in the victory, while forcing 12 miscues for the Camels.