Middlebury limited host Bowdoin to just 19 first-half points and added a balanced offensive effort during a 63-51 victory over the Polar Bears (12-8, 2-5) Friday in Morrell Gymnasium. The Panthers (16-5, 5-2) return to action on Saturday when they travel to Colby for a 3:00 p.m. tipoff.
Middlebury never trailed and rode a strong first half to an 18-point halftime lead. The Panthers took a 12-4 advantage on a layup by Eric McCord. Bowdoin trimmed the edge to 12-7 following a David Reynolds three-point field goal, but the visitors replied with a 9-3 surge to push the edge out to double figures at 21-10 on a bucket from Jack Farrell midway through the frame. After a pair of Stephen Ferraro free throws trimmed the Middlebury margin to 21-12, the Panthers answered with a 10-0 spurt, sparked by five points from Matt Folger, as Middlebury possessed a 37-19 advantage at halftime.
Despite several runs, Bowdoin could not close the gap to single digits at any point in the second half, as each Polar Bear surge was answered by a Panther bucket.
Folger finished with 15 points to lead Middlebury, while McCord recorded his eighth double-double of the season with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Farrell and Max Bosco chipped in with 14 and 13 points, respectively, while Farrell added six boards. Hilal Dahleh pulled down seven rebounds for the visitors, while Griffin Kornaker had nine points and five rebounds off the bench.
Bowdoin was paced by 13 points from Jack Simonds, while Reynolds had seven points and nine boards.
Neither team shot well in the contest, as Bowdoin connected on 35.7 percent (20-56) of its shots from the floor, while Middlebury hit for 33.8 percent (24-71) from the field. The Panthers took advantage of Polar Bears miscues, converting 20 points off 19 Bowdoin turnovers.
Friday's strong defensive first-half effort by Middlebury comes on the heels of Sunday's win against Trinity, when the Panthers limited the Bantams to just 15 points in the opening stanza.