January 23, 2012

            Senior Ryan Sharry (Braintree, Mass.) scored a game-high 28 points to lead top-ranked Middlebury to a 97-71 win over Castleton State College in Pepin Gymnasium on Tuesday night. The Panthers shot over 61% from the floor, holding a sizeable 49-31 advantage on the boards.

Sharry, who also grabbed 13 rebounds for his sixth double-double in 10 games (29th career), shot 10-12 from the field to lead four Panthers in double figures. Sophomore Joey Kizel (Short Hills, N.J.) followed with 18 points on 6-10 shooting, while first-year player Dylan Sinnickson (Sands Point, N.Y.) added 15 on 5-7 shooting and junior Peter Lynch (Westford, Mass.) chipped in 13 points and eight rebounds. Junior Jake Wolfin (Woodcliff Lake, N.J.) dished out eight assists in the win for the Panthers.

Mark Comstock led Castleton with 19 points and eight rebounds, while Matt Cooney added 10 points as the only other Spartan in double figures.

Middlebury reeled off 13-straight points early in the first half to turn a tie game into a 21-8 lead with 12:38 remaining on a Sinnickson lay-up. Keith Schneider answered with a three-pointer for Castleton, but Middlebury maintained a healthy margin over the 10 minutes of play and led 38-29 with 2:53 left in the first half after a Comstock lay-in. It was as close as the Spartans would come, as Middlebury went on a 9-0 run over the next minute, pushing the lead to 18, before settling into a 49-34 margin at the interval.

The Panthers controlled the second half, and led by as many as 27 (94-67) with 1:57 remaining before settling in for the 26-point final margin.

Middlebury extended its home winning streak to 18 with the victory, holding the Spartans to just 71 points, 22.6 below their average of 93.6 (3rd nationally).

Sharry scored a game-high 22 points to lead top-ranked Middlebury to a 76-64 win at Hamilton on Friday night. Sharry was 10 of 16 from the floor, and also pulled down a team-high nine rebounds. Kizel  chipped in 16 points and six assists, while Wolfin added 10 points and four assists.

Greg Newton led the Continentals with 21 points to go along with nine rebounds and five assists. Pat Sullivan posted a double-double with 17 points and 10 boards. Eric Benvenuti  added eight points, and Ken Click blocked four shots.

A layup by Newton gave Hamilton its largest lead of the game at 10-6 with 15:39 remaining in the first half. But Sharry responded by making three consecutive layups, and Kizel converted another to cap a quick 8-0 run that gave Middlebury a 14-10 lead with 13:11 left.

A pair of free throws by Newton gave Hamilton a 21-20 lead with 8:48 remaining. But a layup by Sinnickson put Middlebury (16-0, 5-0) back in the lead with 8:27 left in the half. The Panthers led by as many as eight points later in the half. Sullivan hit a jumper with 31 seconds remaining to pull the Continentals within 38-33 at the break.

A three-pointer by Kizel with 12:05 left put Middlebury up 53-44 for its largest lead of the game at that point. But Benvenuti sank a three-pointer, Click hit a jumper followed by a pair of free throws, and Benvenuti drained a jumper to cap a 9-0 run and tie the score at 53.

With the score tied at 55 and 6:44 on the clock, the Panthers used a 9-2 mini-run to grab a 64-57 advantage with 3:21 to play. A layup by Sharry and a pair of free throws by Sinnickson made it 59-55. Newton cut Hamilton's deficit in half with a jumper, but Middlebury responded with a three by Wolfin and a layup by sophomore Jack Roberts (Moylan, Pa.) for the seven-point lead.

A pair of free throws by Sullivan cut Middlebury's lead to four points at 67-63 with 1:38 left. But that was as close as Hamilton could get, as the Panthers shot 8-9 at the line over the final 1:08 to seal the victory. The Continentals shot 33.3 percent from the floor, including 1-9 from three-point range, in the second half.
• Men’s Basketball record: 16-0
• Up next: 1/24 vs. Plattsburgh – 7:30, 1/28 vs. Williams – 4:00