Top-Ranked Men's Hoops Beats Tufts

January 7, 2012

Middlebury shot an impressive .625 from the floor holding off a determined Tufts squad 82-69 on Saturday at Pepin Gym. With the win, the top-ranked Panthers improve to 12-0 overall and 2-0 in NESCAC play. The Jumbos even their conference record at 1-1, dropping to 8-4 on the season.

The upset-minded Jumbos, one night removed from toppling seventh-ranked Williams, took an early 5-0 lead on a three from Scott Anderson and a jumper by Tom Folliard. The teams battled over the next several minutes as the Panthers took a slim 15-11 lead on a jumper by Dylan Sinnickson at 13:04. Tufts answered on a three by Kwame Firempong on its next possession, cutting the Middlebury lead to 15-14. The Panthers countered, using an 11-2 run over the next five minutes for a 26-16 advantage with 7:28 left in the first half.

With 3:13 remaining, Firempong nailed a three, cutting the Jumbo deficit to 33-28 before Middlebury used a 6-0 spurt over the next 1:12 of play, resetting their lead to double-digits at 39-28. C.J. Moss answered for Tufts, scoring the final five points of the half, including a big three with four seconds left, as the Jumbos headed into the break trailing 39-33.

Moss opened the second half with a bucket for Tufts, cutting the Middlebury lead to 39-35. After a jumper by Middlebury’s Ryan Sharry at 19:00, Anderson knocked down a three for the Jumbos, making it a one possession game for Tufts with 18:37 left to play.

The Panthers answered again, using a 12-2 run over the next four minutes, expanding their lead to 53-40 with 14:12 left in the game. Five players scored during the run, highlighted by Joey Kizel’s four points. The Panther lead hovered around 10 points for the next nine minutes of action as Tufts couldn’t dent the eight-point barrier until Firempong put in a lay-up with 4:25 left, knifing the deficit to 68-62.

Middlebury responded with a 10-2 run, capped by a shot-clock-beating three from Kizel from 25 feet out. After the three from Kizel at 2:05, the Panthers with a 78-64 lead, finally earned some breathing room down the stretch for the 82-69 win.

Five Panthers scored double-digits as Sharry collected a game-high 22 points, while Kizel and Peter Lynch scored 16 apiece. Jake Wolfin followed with 14 and a game-high six assists, as Sinnickson finished with 10 points off the bench. Lynch paced the Panthers with a game-best eight rebounds, as Sharry grabbed seven more boards for Middlebury.

Anderson paced Tufts with 19 points, hitting all eight of his free throw attempts, as Firempong added 16 and Folliard netted 10 for the Jumbos.

Box Score