November 21, 2011

            The fifth-ranked Panther men’s basketball team defeated Ramapo 73-62 in the championship game of the Roadrunner Tip-Off Tournament. The Panthers improve to 2-0 on the season, handing Ramapo (3-1) their first loss of the season.

            With the game tied 10-10 midway through the first half, a sophomore Nate Bulluck (Santa Monica, Calif.) jumper and a three from rookie Dean Brierley (Morristown, N.J.) gave the Panthers a 15-10 lead at 11:31. Ramapo cut the advantage down to one point before Middlebury used a 12-4 run to take a 22-14 lead with 4:31 left in the half.

            Ramapo crawled back to narrow the lead to 28-26 late in the half, but a bucket from junior Nolan Thompson (Akron, Ohio) gave Middlebury a 30-26 advantage going into the locker room. 

            After the teams traded baskets to open up the second half, Middlebury created some breathing room with an 8-3 run to take a 47-40 lead with 12:44 remaining in the game. Over the next eight minutes, the Panthers built their largest lead of the contest, as a junior Jake Wolfin (Woodcliff Lake, N.J.) three gave Middlebury a 65-51 advantage with just under four minutes to play.

            Ramapo made some noise down the stretch, but couldn’t get closer than 11 points as Middlebury held on for the 73-62 victory.

            The Panthers shot 47% from the field, while shooting 35% from beyond the arc. Middlebury finished the game with a 45-37 edge in rebounds.

            Thompson scored 13 points to lead four Panthers in double figures. Sophomore Joey Kizel (Short Hills, N.J.) ended the night with 12 points and seven assists, while junior Peter Lynch (Westford, Mass.) also scored 12. Wolfin contributed 10 points and nine assists, while sophomores Jack Roberts (Moylan, Pa.) and James Jensen (North White Plains, N.Y.) led the Panthers on the glass with 11 and 10 rebounds.

            Lynch was named Tournament MVP, averaging 15.5 points a game, while Wolfin represented the Panthers on the All-Tournament team.

            In their first round game, the Panthers opened their season with a 76-70 win over Gwynedd Mercy. The Panthers shot .520 from the floor and held a 36-28 advantage on the boards.

            Trailing 4-2, Middlebury went on an 11-2 run behind threes from Wolfin and Thompson to take a 13-4 lead with 14:25 left in the first half. The Panthers led by as many as 17 on a three from Kizel, making it a 37-20 game at the 2:28 mark, taking a 40-27 lead into the intermission.

            Gwynedd Mercy chipped away in the second half, cutting the lead to 51-44 at the 9:04 mark. Middlebury regained control, extending the lead to 18 with a 71-53 lead with 2:02 remaining on a hoop from Lynch.

            The Griffins went on a late run to cut the lead to four with 28 seconds left, but the Panthers held on for the 76-70 victory.

            Lynch had a huge game with a career-high 19 points on 9 of 10 shooting to lead all scorers. Kizel added 18 points, six assists and five rebounds, while Wolfin scored 14 with seven points and seven boards. 
• Men’s Basketball record: 2-0
• Up next: 11/22 vs. St. Joseph’s – 5:00, 11/27 @ Johnson St. – 2:00