The 13th-ranked Middlebury men's basketball team concluded a busy opening stretch with its fifth game in eight days, pulling away in the second half for a 73-56 victory Saturday at Skidmore. Middlebury (5-0) returns to the court on Tuesday with a 5:00 p.m. tipoff at Northern Vermont-Johnson.
The host Thoroughbreds grabbed a 10-3 lead on a free throw by Pat Gallagher with 12:53 left in the opening half. The Panthers rattled off a 14-2 run spanning 6:27 of play, taking a 17-12 lead on a layup by Alex Sobel with 6:26 showing on the clock. Middlebury continued to extend the advantage, securing a 32-18 lead on a pair of free throws by Jack Farrell in the final minute before taking a 32-20 edge into the halftime break.
Out of the locker rooms, Skidmore pulled to within 32-21 on a free throw by Ryan Murunge during its first possession. A layup and a dunk by Sobel pushed the lead out to 36-21 in favor of the Panthers. Leading 42-29 with 14:56 remaining, Middlebury rattled off an 11-2 run for a 53-31 edge on a fastbreak layup from Tommy Eastman. Skidmore sliced the deficit to 64-50 via two free throws from Tautvydas Kupstats at the 4:44 mark, but a three-point field goal from Max Bosco increased the lead to 67-50 and the Panthers cruised to the road victory.
Bosco paced four Middlebury players in double figures, finishing with 18 points to go along with six rebounds. Farrell netted 15 points and five boards, while Eastman chipped in with 11 points and five rebounds. Sobel posted a double-double of 10 points and a game-high 11 rebounds, while Griffin Kornaker had a game-best five assists.
Greg Skoric led the hosts with 14 points to go along with eight rebounds. Murunge added 11 points and seven boards, while Gallagher also finished in double figures with 11 points.
Middlebury shot 53.6 percent (30-56) from the floor and limited the Thoroughbreds to 35.5 percent (22-62). The Panthers held a decided 15-0 advantage in fastbreak points.