Men's Hoops Advances To NESCAC Final

February 28, 2009

Middlebury will make its first appearance in the NESCAC Championship game after a 76-46 win over Bowdoin in a semifinal contest in Pepin Gym. The Panthers improve to 23-3 on the season, while the Polar Bears end their season at 17-9. The game was played in front of a packed house of 1,200 fans in Pepin Gym. Middlebury will host Amherst in the NESCAC Championship game at noon on Sunday. Tickets go on sale one hour before gametime at 11:00 a.m.

Middlebury's Ben Rudin scored six of his career-high 30 points early as the Panthers held a 6-5 lead. The Polar Bears took a 13-11 advantage on a three from Paul Sellew at the 8:44 mark, but would not make a field goal in the game's next 6:44. Middlebury went on a quick 10-0 run with 5:35 left in the half, sparked by back-to-back threes from Tim Edwards and Kyle Dudley, taking a 29-14 advantage. The Panthers entered the halftime break with a 30-18 lead, behind 15 points from Rudin.

Middlebury opened the second half hitting a red-hot 13 of its first 15 shots (.867) from the floor through the first 10 minutes of play, taking a 29-point lead. A 13-0 run in the span was the difference, as four different players scored, including two hoops apiece from Rudin and Ryan Sharry.

Bowdoin answered the run with a 9-0 spark as Mark Phillips hit a pair of buckets to make it a 59-39 game with 7:37 remaining. The Polar Bears would come as close as 19, but the Panthers kept coming, extending the lead to 76-46 at game's end.

Bowdoin struggled all afternoon from the floor, shooting .207 in the first half and .279 in the game. The Panther defense also forced 18 turnovers on the afternoon, scoring 23 points off those mishaps.

Rudin's game-high 30 points led Middlebury, while Kyle Dudley scored 11 on 5-8 shooting from the floor. Aaron Smith added nine points and six rebounds, while Sharry scored nine with seven boards. Phillips paced Bowdoin with 14 points and seven boards.