Men's Basketball Tops Hamilton
February 14, 2011
Middlebury went on a 20-0 run to pull away from a pesky Hamilton squad 69-56 in a Monday night match-up at Pepin Gym. The fourth-ranked Panthers (21-1) shot an impressive .552 in the second half to pull away from the Continentals (14-8) who committed 13 of their 19 turnovers in the second half. Middlebury returns to action at Pepin Gym on Thursday night against Green Mountain College before a NESCAC Quarterfinal home game against Connecticut College, while Hamilton returns to Liberty League action this weekend with a pair of home games versus Vassar and Rensselaer.
Middlebury’s Andrew Locke got off to a quick start at both ends of the floor, dunking home two shots, while swatting away a pair of Continental attempts on the low block. With the Panthers leading 13-8 midway in the first half, Hamilton responded with a 9-0 burst, highlighted by seven points from Greg Newton, for a 17-13 lead with 6:37 left. Middlebury answered with a 7-0 spurt for a 20-17 lead with five minutes to play, as Jake Wolfin netted five, including a go-ahead three at 5:32. The Continentals returned with an 8-0 counterpunch, capped by a lay-up by Newton with 1:01 left to play, and a 25-20 advantage.
Middlebury started their decisive 20-point run in the final minute of the first half on consecutive three-pointers, first by Ryan Sharry with 47 seconds left, followed up by a leaner from Joey Kizel as time expired in the half, as the Panthers took a 26-25 lead into the break.
The intermission did not slow the Panthers down, as they opened the second half forcing six turnovers, while holding the Continentals to 0/4 shooting during a 14-0 burst, capping the 20-point run. Sharry was impressive, scoring 10 points, swiping three steals while grabbing a rebound during the span. By the 15:00 mark, Middlebury held a 40-25 advantage.
Hamilton twice cut the Panther lead to nine points over the next eight minutes, but could not muster a run to threaten Middlebury down the stretch. Leading 52-43 with seven minutes to go, the Panthers hit seven of their final 10 shots from the floor. Wolfin was a perfect 5/5, including a three during that stretch, as the Middlebury lead ballooned to 69-52 with two minutes to go before Hamilton scored the final six points of the game.
Four Panthers scored double-digits, as Sharry led with 18, Wolfin followed with 16 on 7/10 shooting and a game-best seven assists, while Ryan Wholey added 13 and Kizel finished with 10. Hamilton was led by Newton’s 17 points on 7/10 shooting, as Hans Schulte added a dozen.