Men's Basketball Hands Amherst Its First Loss

February 11, 2011

Seventh-ranked Middlebury handed Amherst its first loss of the season as the Panthers (19-1, 7-1) earned a 69-61 win over the third-ranked Jeffs (21-1, 7-1) before a crowd of 1,150 in Pepin Gym. Both teams wrap up their regular seasons tomorrow when Middlebury hosts Trinity and Amherst visits Williams. The win was the fourth straight for the Panthers over the Jeffs, in the 63rd meeting between the schools.

The game was a defensive battle, with the nation’s top field goal percentage defense holding Amherst to just .311 from the floor, as well as 26 points below their average. Middlebury shot .364 in the game, converting 4 of 15 from behind the arc and 25 of 32 from the free throw line. The Jeffs, who were playing just their sixth road game of the season, connected on 3 of 12 from long distance, while knocking down 20 of 25 from the charity stripe.

The first half saw back and forth play, including seven different ties (13 in the game). Trailing by one with 3:32 remaining, Nolan Thompson hit a two and then a three to give the Panthers a 30-26 lead at the 2:22 mark. Taylor Barrise knocked down 3-3 free throws late in the half to leave Middlebury with a 30-29 lead at the intermission.

Amherst’s Willy Workman hit 3-3 from the line at the 14:53 mark of the second half to give the Jeffs their largest lead of the game at 43-39. Middlebury answered with a 6-0 run, with four free throws from Ryan Sharry and a pair from Andrew Locke to regain the lead at 45-43.

Locke broke a 45-45 tie at the 10:56 mark, following a missed shot with a thunderous one-handed put-back. Locke and Sharry worked a give-and-go minutes later, with Locke throwing down another to give the Panthers a 51-49 advantage with 9:12 remaining.

Middlebury led 56-54 with 5:00 remaining, but would not make another field goal in the game as Amherst sent them to the line for 18 free throws. The Panthers connected on 13 of the 18, leading by as many as nine on their way to the 69-61 win.

Sharry scored a game-high 18 points, while pulling down a game-best 13 boards in the game to go along with a career-high five assists. Jake Wolfin added 16 points, Thompson scored a dozen, while Locke had 11 points, seven boards and six blocks.

Barrise paced the Jeffs with 15 points and eight rebounds, Workman added 13 with seven boards, while Peter Kaasila chipped in with 10.

Box Score