Men's Basketball Advances To NESCAC Semi's

February 19, 2011

Middlebury advanced to the NESCAC Semifinals for the fourth consecutive year after a 61-41 quarterfinal victory over Connecticut College on Saturday at Pepin Gym. The Panthers advance to next weekend’s semifinals at Williams College where they will meet Amherst at 4:00 p.m. The host school will face Trinity at 2:00 p.m., with the championship slated for noon on Sunday.

Middlebury held the Camels to .222 shooting from the floor (12-54) and 2-18 from the three point line. The Panthers received solid bench scoring from Joey Kizel and James Jensen, as the duo combined for 20 points on 8-12 shooting. Conn. College held a small rebounding advantage (40-39), but grabbed 14 offensive boards to the Panthers seven.

With Middlebury’s stalwart center Andrew Locke not in the lineup, the Camels attacked the hoop in the early going. Conn. College had a couple second-chance opportunities on their first possession, eventually grabbing a 4-1 lead on a pair of lay-ups, including one from Taylor Hanson at 17:50. That would be the only lead for the Camels as the Panthers went on a 7-0 spurt over the next 90 seconds, capped by a three by Nolan Thompson at 16:20.

A pair of free throws from Conn. College’s Brian Mahoney shaved the deficit to 10-9 before Middlebury jumped ahead with a 9-0 run on 3-3 shooting from behind the arc. Joey Kizel’s pair of threes bookended Jake Wolfin’s triple for a 19-9 lead with 12:14 left in the half.

Manson Lopez connected on a three for the Camels at 11:24, but the Panthers responded with a methodical 11-4 run over the next seven minutes, building a 30-16 lead with 4:17 remaining before intermission. Matt Vadas hit the Camels final three of the game at 1:59, cutting the Panther advantage to 32-20 before Middlebury ended the half on a 4-0 burst and a 36-20 lead at the break.

Ryan Sharry opened the second half with a bucket for the Panthers prior to a 6-0 dash by Conn. College, setting the score at 38-26 with 17:42 to play. The Camels could not break the double-digit barrier over the next 10 minutes of play, as they watched the deficit balloon to 23 points on a three from Kizel with 7:55 left in the game. During that time span, Conn. College went 2-10 from the field, while committing five turnovers. The Panther lead hovered around the 20-point margin for the reminder of the game.

Kizel paced Middlebury with 13 points off the bench on 5-8 shooting, including 3-3 marksmanship from behind the arc, while Nolan Thompson added 11 and Wolfin chipped in 10 points, and game-highs with seven assists and four steals. Hanson led Conn. College with a game-high 18 points, highlighted by 10-11 shooting from the free throw line.

Box Score