Men's Basketball Falls In NCAA Tourney

March 7, 2008

The Middlebury men's basketball team saw its record-breaking season come to an end as they fell 56-43 at the University of Rochester in an NCAA Tournament first-round game. The Panthers, who were making their first NCAA Tournament appearance, end the season with a school-record 19 wins and eight losses. The Yellowjackets (21-5) are making their 12th NCAA Tourney appearance, and will take on Penn. State-Behrend in the regional final on Saturday.

Middlebury took a 3-0 lead less than a minute into the game on a three from the top of the arc by Mike Walsh. A three from Andrew Harris and a three-point play by Aaron Smith gave Middlebury a 9-3 lead with 14:48 remaining in the first half. The Panthers led 11-5 before Rochester went on an 8-0 run to take a 13-11 lead at the 9:50 mark. Middlebury regained a 17-16 advantage on a hop from Kyle Dudley at the 5:09 mark, as the first half would feature five lead changes. The Yellowjackets would take a 21-20 lead into the intermission, despite shooting .292 from the floor. The Panthers struggled from the floor as well in the first half, shooting .258, including 2 of 11 from three-point range. The two teams combined to miss 44 shots in the first half, Middlebury owning one less turnover at 8-7.

Middlebury opened the second half with a three from Ben Rudin to give them a 23-21 lead. Unfortunately for the Panthers, that would be their final lead of the game as Rochester came back with a 12-0 run to take a 33-23 lead at the 15:55 mark. Middlebury continued to chip away at the lead, cutting it to six on a hoop from Aaron Smith with 9:31 remaining. The Yellowjackets regained an eight-point lead before Ashton Coghlan knocked down a jumper in the lane to make it a 41-37 game with 6:38 left to play. Rochester answered with an 8-0 run to lead by a dozen with 4:19 remaining, maintaining a double-digit lead for the rest of the contest.

Tim Edwards led Middlebury with nine points on the night, while Rudin and Walsh scored seven points apiece. Walsh grabbed a team-high eight rebounds and had three blocks, Rudin had four assists, while Andrew Locke blocked four.

Middlebury shot just .295 from the floor in the game, 4 of 22 from three-point range. Rochester shot .370 from the floor and held a 41-36 edge in rebounds.