Men's Basketball Routs Williams In NESCAC Quarters

February 23, 2008

Middlebury out-scored Williams 36-5 in the final 11:33 of the second half as the Panthers picked up their first-ever NESCAC Tournament victory with a 96-59 thumping of the Ephs. The Panthers placed six players in double figures, shot an impressive .583 from the floor and never trailed in the game. Middlebury advances to the NESCAC semifinals next weekend at Amherst and will take on Trinity at 8:00 p.m., while Bowdoin meets the host school in the other contest at 6:00 p.m. The championship game is scheduled for Sunday afternoon at 2:30. Middlebury improves on its school record with its 19th win of the year, against just six losses, while Williams ends its season with a 17-8 mark.

Middlebury came out firing early, grabbing an 11-4 lead in the game's first 3:27. Andrew Harris opened the game with a three from the corner, while knocking down another trey from the top of the circle to make it a 6-2 game. Williams answered, before Tim Edwards hit a three from the corner and Ben Rudin hit a 15-footer from the top of the key to give the Panthers the 11-4 early lead.

Williams cut the lead to three after Chris Rose knocked down three free throws after getting fouled behind the arc at 12:58. The Panthers answered as Kyle Dudley hit a three and Albert Handy knocked down a jumper to give them their biggest lead of the half at 24-16.

The Ephs came within one three times before Middlebury regained a seven-point lead on another hoop from Handy and some inside work from Aaron Smith. Williams cut the lead to a pair on a hoop from Chris Shalvoy with less than a minute to go, entering halftime with a 42-39 deficit. The Panthers shot .545 from the floor in the first half, while the Ephs hit .483 of its shots. Williams out-scored Middlebury 9-1 from the free throw line in the first 20 minutes.

In the second half, Dudley converted a three-point play to give Middlebury a 58-50 lead at the 12:54 mark. Matt Weisbrot answered for Williams before an Andrew Locke block set-up Dudley for a fast-break layup to regain the eight-point advantage.

Troy Whittington hit a bucket for the Ephs at the 11:33 mark, but Williams would not score for the game's next 4:47, going 0 for 3 from the floor and committing five turnovers during the span. During that time, the Panthers went on a decisive 10-0 run to take a 70-54 lead. A three from the corner by Handy and one from the top of the circle by Harris sparked the offensive burst.

A pair of free throws by Shalvoy ended the Middlebury run with 6:45 remaining, but the Ephs' shooting woes continued, making just one of their last 10 shots down the stretch. While Williams struggled in the final 11:33, connecting on only 1 of 13 from the floor, Middlebury shot an impressive 10 of 13, including 6 for 6 from behind the arc.

Middlebury was paced by Smith's team-high 17 points and seven rebounds, while Harris chipped in 15, hitting 4 of 6 three's. Albert Handy added 13 and seven boards, Ben Rudin scored 11 and dished out a game-high six assists, while Dudley and Edwards netted 10 apiece. Blake Schultz game-high 19 led a trio of Ephs in double figures, as Shalvoy scored 13 and Rose added 10.

During the pivotal second half, Middlebury outscored Williams 54-20, holding Williams to 22 percent shooting and forcing 12 turnovers. The Panthers handed out 19 assists and made 12 of 16 three-pointers in the game, while the Ephs were 4 of 15 from behind the arc.