Rudin Becomes All-Time Assists Leader As Middlebury Wins At Wesleyan

January 24, 2009

Middlebury's Ben Rudin became the school's all-time leader in assists as he led the Panthers to a 67-60 NESCAC road win at Wesleyan. Rudin now has 415 career helpers, surpassing Mike Faucher '99, who earned 410 assists from 1996-99. Middlebury remained atop the NESCAC standings by improving to 4-0 in conference play and 16-2 overall. Middlebury went on a 15-2 run to end the first half, and added a 9-2 burst to begin the second half to open up a 42-33 advantage during the game. The Panthers extend their school-best winning streak to 12 games, with nine straight NESCAC road wins over the past three seasons.

The Panthers extended their lead to as many as 13 points (59-46, 9:27 to go) before Wesleyan (5-11, 1-3 NESCAC) whittled the margin to four at 62-58 with 1:58 remaining. The Cardinals scored just one basket the rest of the way, failing to take advantage of Middlebury's 3-12 free-throw shooting down the stretch.

Wesleyan led by 11 in the first half, opening up a 29-18 edge five minutes before the end of the half as Jason Mendell, who took game-scoring honors with 22, led the way with eight points.

Rudin carried Middlebury back into contention, scoring seven of the Panthers' final nine points of the period as the visitors took their first lead of the contest with :36 to go, completing the 15-2 burst. Rudin then began the second half by making three crisp passes, two of them to Tim Edwards (career-high 17 points), which were turned into Panther three-pointers as Middlebury pushed its 33-31 halftime margin to a nine-point bulge. Rudin led his squad with 18 points and six assists in the game.

Though Middlebury built the margin to 13, Wesleyan scored eight straight points, five by Mendell and three by senior Stan Grayson, to narrow the gap to four. Rudin hit a shot to make it 64-58 at the 1:27 mark and the teams combined to score just five points the rest of the way. Though Middlebury had difficulty from the charity stripe down the stretch, the Panthers made 17 of their first 20 to help secure their lead.

Wesleyan shot a measly 4-17 from the line for the game and turned the ball over 16 times to just eight by Middlebury. This negated Wesleyan's edge in field-goal percentage of 45.6 percent to only 32.3 percent by Middlebury as the Cardinals had five more field goals in the game than their visitors.