Middlebury

Men's Hoops Advances To NCAA Regional Final

March 2, 2012

Middlebury went on a 20-5 second half run to open up a 20-point lead on its way to a 75-49 win over Morrisville in an NCAA Tournament first-round game. The Panthers (25-3) advance to take on Albertus Magnus, an 87-84 winner over St. Joseph’s of Long Island, in the regional final on Saturday night at 7:00 p.m. Morrisville finished up its season with a 19-9 mark. With the victory, the fourth-ranked Panthers improved their home winning streak to 24 games.

Middlebury jumped out early, taking a 13-4 lead with 13:31 remaining in the first half. Threes on three straight trips sparked the run, the first from Joey Kizel with Jake Wolfin knocking down two straight. Morrisville answered with a 6-0 spurt, making it a 13-10 game at the 11:29 mark on a hoop from Brandon Hanks. The Panthers came right back with another run, scoring the game’s next eight points to take a 21-10 advantage with 8:18 remaining. The lead grew to as many as 14 twice, but the Mustangs outscored the Panthers 11-3 in the final 6:50 of the half. Neither team scored in the final 2:07, leaving Middlebury with a 29-23 lead at the intermission.

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Middlebury shot 37.5% in the first half, including 5-17 from behind the arc. Morrisville connected on 29.7% of its shots, going 1-11 from three-point range in the first half.. Constant double-teaming in the 2-3 zone held Panther All-American Ryan Sharry to just two points, while he grabbed eight boards on the other end of the floor.

Morrisville chipped away in the second half, cutting the lead to six at 41-35 on a bucket from Mickey Davis at the 15:09 mark. The Panthers followed with the decisive 20-5 run over the next 6:31 to put the game away. Middlebury shot 7-11 from the floor during the run, hitting four of five three-pointers. Kizel, Wolfin each knocked down threes, while Thompson scored 10 points, including a pair from behind the arc.

The lead grew to as many as 27 on a late three from Albert Nascimento, with the Panthers coming away with a 75-49 win. Middlebury came back to shoot 63.3% in the second half, finishing the game at an even 50%.  The Panthers held a 20-4 advantage in points off turnovers.

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Thompson led the Panthers with a game-high 19 points on 8-14 shooting to go along with four assists. Wolfin added 14 points and six assists, Kizel had 11 points and five helpers, while Peter Lynch scored 10 of 5-6 shooting. Sharry finished the game with nine points and a game-high 12 rebounds.

Hanks paced the Mustangs with 13 points and 11 rebounds, Kucjok Ater had 10 points and 10 boards, while Davis netted 11.

Box Score