MEN'S BASKETBALL IS TOPS IN THE NATION
December 12, 2011
Fresh off their new spot atop the national poll, the Middlebury men’s basketball team cruised to a 90-46 win over Johnson & Wales (1-5) in Pepin Gym. The Panthers shot a red-hot .581 from the floor in the first half, ending the game with just four turnovers.
Middlebury came out strong defensively, holding Johnson & Wales to just seven points through the game’s first 13:30. The Panthers led 12-2 early, taking a 28-7 lead on a hoop from sophomore Nate Bulluck (Santa Monica, Calif.) with 7:35 left in the first half. The lead ballooned to over 30 when rookie Dylan Sinnickson (Sands Point, N.Y.) hit a pair of free throws with 1:43 left to make it a 45-14 contest. Middlebury entered the intermission with a 51-17 advantage as sophomore Joey Kizel (Short Hills, N.J.) knocked down a 25-footer at the buzzer.
The lead continued to grow in the second half, going over 40 points at 73-32 on a three from senior Ryan Sharry (Braintree, Mass.) midway through the half. The Panthers held solid down the stretch, coming away with the 90-46 win.
Sharry, who was making his first appearance of the season, scored a game-high 16 points on 6 of 7 shooting in 17 minutes of action. Kizel added 15 points and five assists, Sinnickson scored 13, while junior Nolan Thompson (Akron, Ohio) netted 11. Sophomore Jake Wolfin (Woodcliff Lake, N.J.) dished out six assists in the game as the Panthers held a 41-28 advantage on the boards.
Middlebury finished the semester with a perfect 7-0 mark after picking up a hard-fought 64-59 road win at Skidmore (4-2). Sharry and Kizel combined for 42 of their team's 64 points. Sharry scored a game-high 24 points and had 14 rebounds, with four blocks and four steals. Kizel had 18 points, hitting 10-of-11 free throws.
The game featured nine lead changes, including seven in the first half.
Skidmore took an early 2-0 lead, but the Panthers used five quick points by Sharry to take a 5-2 lead. Sharry scored his team's first 10 points as the Panthers scratched out an early 12-8 lead with 13:07 to play. The Thoroughbreds regained the lead, 19-17, on a Terron Victoria jumper at 6:31. Neither team lead by more than three the rest of the half, with the score tied 30-30 at the break.
Skidmore led by three twice over the first six minutes of the second half. Middlebury regained the lead for good, 44-42 with 11:44 to play on a Kizel jumper. The Thoroughbreds kept the Panthers within two possessions for the next 11 minutes, until a made free throw by Wolfin gave Middlebury a 60-53 lead with 28.5 seconds to play.
Victoria hit a three with 24 seconds left, to make it 60-56, but Kizel hit both of his free throws with 12 seconds left to get it back to six, 62-56. Brian Lowery hit another three with eight seconds left to cut the lead to 62-59. Kizel went back to the line to hit another pair of free throws with four seconds left for the 64-59 final. Kizel was 9-10 from the line over the final three minutes.
• Men’s Basketball record: 7-0
• Up next: 12/29 vs. Curry @ Salem – 3:00, 12/30 @ Salem – 7:00