Nick Gilpin knocked down a three from the right side as time expired, giving Bates (12-12, 4-6) a 90-87 victory at #10 Middlebury on Saturday afternoon. The Panthers (20-4, 6-4) enter the NESCAC Quarterfinals as the fifth seed and will visit fourth-seeded Trinity next Saturday at 3:00 p.m.
Bates jumped out to a 10-4 lead early before Middlebury went on a 10-0 run to go up 14-10 at the 14:54 mark. Tommy Eastman hit a two and a three during the early spurt. Neither team led by more than four throughout the remainder of the half, until a late layup from James Mortimer put the visitors ahead 40-35 at the break.
The game remained tight in the second session, with the Panthers moving ahead 70-65 on a layup from Eastman with 8:00 left on the clock. Matt Folger blocked a shot and converted in transition to put the hosts ahead 81-76 at the 4:28 mark. The Bobcats responded with six-straight points, taking an 82-81 lead with 3:20 left to play.
With the game tied at 87-87, Bates missed a shot with under 10 seconds to play as Middlebury raced up the floor. A Panther slipped in transition and turned the ball over, leading to Gilpin's game winner from 23 feet out.
Eastman led the Panthers with a career-high 28 points, while Folger recorded his 10th double-double of the season with 19 points and 11 rebounds to go along with four blocks. Max Bosco finished with 13 points, Jack Farrell netted a dozen, while Griffin Kornaker scored eight with four assists. Folger moved into the top 10 among all-time scorers at Middlebury with 1,224 points, surpassing Ben Rudin '09. Farrell moves into 17th place with 1,039 points, surpassing Fain Hackney '83, James Thompson '87 and Nate Anderson '04.
Gilpin led all scored with 28 points on 10-14 shooting, including 6-8 from long range. He also added nine rebounds and three assists. Jeff Spellman scored 24, while Omar Sarr finished with 17 points and 19 rebounds.
The game featured 14 ties and 15 lead changes, as Middlebury shot 54 percent, with Bates connecting on 46.6 percent of its shots.