Men's Basketball To Host NCAA Regional - Watch Live!
March 4, 2010
The Middlebury College men's basketball team will makes its third consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance when they host a regional on March 5th & 6th in Pepin Gym. The Panthers will take on Gordon on Friday at 8:00 p.m., preceded by a game between Rhode Island College and Rutgers-Newark at 6:00. The winners meet on Saturday night at 7:00 in the regional final. Tickets will go on sale Wednesday, March 3rd at the McCullough box office (802-443-6433), and are priced at $7 for adults and $4 for students/day. Tickets can also be purchased at: http://boxoffice.middlebury.edu/index.php.
Middlebury earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, as they did in '08. A year ago, the Panthers earned an automatic bid after capturing their first NESCAC Championship. Middlebury is 0-2 in NCAA play, falling at Rochester 56-43 in a first-round game in '08, while dropping a 78-76 game at home to Bridgewater State in a the first-round a year ago.
Middlebury is in the midst of another record-breaking season that has seen the Panthers tie a school-record 24 wins against just three losses. The Middlebury seniors have the highest winning percentage of any other class in school history with an 82-25 (.766) mark. The Panthers have also seen their attendance average rise to over 700/game this season. Middlebury is currently ranked ninth in the latest D3Hoops.com national poll, and second to Williams in the NCAA Northeast ranking.
As a team, the Panthers have boasted some impressive defensive numbers overall. Middlebury leads the nation with a .365 field goal percentage defense, while also pacing all Division III schools with 7.3 blocked shots/game. Middlebury's winning percentage of .889 (24-3) is eighth-best among its competitors.
Senior captain Tim Edwards has been the anchor of the Middlebury squad, owning NESCAC Defensive Player of the Year honors for the past two seasons. The second-team All-NESCAC selection leads the NESCAC in steals with 2.14/game, while ranking second in assists with 5.19/game this season. After missing the first six games of the season with an injury, Edwards has come back strong to average 8.6 points/game, while ranking second among his teammates with 7.0 rebounds/contest. He recently became the school's all-time leader in steals with 194.
Sophomore Ryan Sharry leads the team in scoring this season with 13.2 points/game. He also paces the team on the boards (7.8 rpg), while ranking sixth in the league with a .535 field goal percentage, third with 1.67 blocks and seventh with 1.29 steals/game. Sharry has six double-digit rebound games this season, scoring a career-high 26 in a win at Connecticut College.
First-year point guard Jake Wolfin is second on the team in scoring this season, averaging 10.6 points/game. The rookie is second on the team and fifth in the league in assists with 4.0/game, while ranking second on the team and sixth in the league with 1.37 thefts/contest. Wolfin netted a career-high 18 points vs. S. Vermont this season, while dishing out seven assists in a game three times.
Fellow rookie Nolan Thompson has enjoyed a solid season for the Panthers, averaging 10.2 points/game. He netted a season-high 21 points in a win over Wesleyan, shooting .430 from the floor with 1.8 assists/game.
Junior Andrew Locke has been a force for the Panthers at center once again. He is second in the nation with 3.6 blocks/game, while his team leads the nation with 7.3/contest. Locke scores 9.1 points/game, grabs 5.2 boards/night, while leading the team and ranking third in the NESCAC with a .614 field goal percentage. Locke exploded for 25 points earlier this season in a win over Bates, while setting a new school record with eight blocks in a game vs. Amherst. He currently owns the school's record for blocks in a season (97-current) and in a career with 247.
Juniors Ryan Wholey and Jamal Davis round out the players averaging 10+ minutes/game this season. Wholey scores 8.9 points/game including 20+ point performances this season vs. Castleton and Amherst and a career-high nine boards vs. Hamilton. Davis has been in double digits 10 times this year, shooting .462 from the floor.
Head Coach Jeff Brown is now in his 13th year at the helm of the Panthers, having previously served as the Bates bench boss for three seasons. He has led the team to three straight NCAA Tournament appearances with a combined record of 67-15 over those three seasons. After leading his team to its first NESCAC Championship in '09, Brown was named the league's coach of the year.
A 1982 graduate of the University of Vermont, Brown scored more than 1,000 points and earned induction into the university's Athletic Hall of Fame during his Catamount basketball career. He is 10th on the all-time scoring list (1,336 points), second in steals (170), seventh in assists (428), eighth in field goals made (526), and ninth in free throws made (284). While playing at UVM, Brown averaged 12.7 points and 4.1 assists per game. He spent three years as the top assistant basketball coach at Manhattan College in New York, before returning to his alma mater as an assistant coach for nine years (1985-94).
Friday, March 5th
Rhode Island College (20-7) vs. Rutgers-Newark (20-7) - 6:00
Gordon (24-4) vs. Middlebury (24-3) - 8:00
Saturday, March 6th
Regional Final - 7:00