November 29, 2010

            Leading 38-18 at the half, Middlebury held visiting Johnson State to .179 shooting in the second half, while connecting on 20-31 shots from the floor, en route to an 86-31 victory at Pepin Gym on Sunday. With the win, the ninth-ranked Panthers improve to 4-0 on the season, while the Badgers fall to 0-3. For the game, Middlebury kept Johnson State in check, holding the Badgers to .229 from the floor, forcing 25 turnovers and maintaining a 42-25 edge on the glass.

            Johnson State built an early 9-5 lead, capped by a three from Rob Key at 16:08 in the first half. Middlebury responded with a 21-6 run over the next 10 minutes, as six different Panthers scored during the run, including five points from sophomore Jake Wolfin (Woodcliff Lake, N.J.). Leading 26-15, Middlebury closed out the first half on a 12-3 spurt, as junior Ryan Sharry (Braintree, Mass.) added seven of his game-high 13 points, for a commanding 38-18 lead at the break.

            In the second half, the lead bulged to 55-21 on a bucket by sophomore Peter Lynch (Westford, Mass.) at 12:45. Lynch went 4-4 in the second stanza for a half-high 10 points as the Panthers cruised to the 86-31 win. As impressive as the suffocating Panther defense was in the second half, forcing 13 of Johnson State’s 25 turnovers, holding the Badgers to 5-28 shooting, Middlebury shot .645 from the floor (20-31), including 4-8 from behind the arc.

            Fourteen Panthers scored in the game, highlighted by Sharry’s game-high 13, as Lynch and sophomore Nolan Thompson (Akron, Ohio) added 10 apiece. Wolfin contributed with seven points, seven assists and three steals for Middlebury.

Middlebury opened up a tight game in the second half, pulling away with an 83-69 win at St. Joseph’s College of Vermont on Tuesday. The ninth-ranked Panthers shot .509 from the floor and blocked 15 shots in the game on their way to the victory.

Middlebury led 12-5 early, but St. Joseph’s hung tough, cutting the lead to one on a hoop from KJay Jackson at the 12:05 mark. Middlebury maintained its first half lead, taking a 41-36 advantage into the halftime break.

            Middlebury led by as many as nine early in the second half, with the Fighting Saints coming within one on a hoop from Evan Jobst at 11:45, part of a 6-0 spurt. The Panthers followed with a 6-0 run, all points coming from senior Andrew Locke (Seattle, Wash.), including a dunk and a tip-in.

Sharry followed with four points, including a thunderous dunk from the baseline before a hoop from Brendan Rios cut the Middlebury lead to 69-61 with 4:25 remaining. Middlebury followed with a decisive 14-2 run to put the game out of reach, taking a 20-point lead with 1:24 left. St. Joe’s closed the contest on a 6-0 spurt to make it an 83-69 final.

            Locke led all scorers with 17 points, nine boards and six blocks on 6-10 shooting from the floor. Sharry added 12 points and five blocks on 4-5 shooting, while senior Ryan Wholey (Pelham, N.H.) also scored a dozen, going 5-7 from the floor. Wolfin scored nine with four assists, senior Jamal Davis (Brooklyn, N.Y.) netted nine with three blocks, while rookie Joey Kizel (Short Hills, N.J.) scored eight points with four assists.
• Men’s basketball record: 4-0
• Up next: 11/30 @ Castleton, 12/4 @ Union