Middlebury rattled off a 15-0 run covering 4:19 of the second half, turning a tight contest into an 81-68 victory at Colby (15-7, 3-5) Saturday in Wadsworth Gymnasium. The Panthers (17-5, 6-2) move into a tie atop the NESCAC standings with the victory and return to action on Friday when they host 11th-ranked Hamilton for a 7:00 p.m. tipoff.
The visitors jumped out to a quick 8-2 lead on a layup from Eric McCord at the 18:03 mark. The Mules battled back to 14-14 on a three-point field goal by Matt Hanna with 12:59 left in the initial frame. Both teams traded small leads over the remainder of the half, as the Panthers moved to within 40-38 at the break on a layup from Hilal Dahleh in the final minute of the stanza.
Out of the locker rooms, the lead wavered back and forth between the two sides over the initial 9:21 of the stanza. With Middlebury holding a narrow 56-55 edge at the 10:39 mark, the visitors rattled off the decisive 15-0 spurt spanning 4:19 for a 71-55 lead with 6:20 remaining on a layup by Max Bosco. The Panthers maintained a double-digit lead over the remainder of the contest, pushing it to as many as 17 (75-58) on a jumper from Matt Folger, before cruising to the 81-68 triumph.
Jack Farrell finished with 21 points on 8-12 shooting from the floor to lead Middlebury, while McCord added 19 points and eight rebounds. Folger chipped in with 11 points and 15 rebounds for his 10th double-double of the season to go along with three blocked shots. Bosco added 14 points, including a perfect 10-10 effort at the free-throw line, to go along with four assists, while Griffin Kornaker also handed out four assists.
Colby was paced by Sam Jefferson with 16 points, while Matt Hanna had 14. Noah Tyson narrowly missed a double-double with 15 rebounds to go along with eight points.