Second Ranked Men's Basketball Too Much For Rensselaer

December 30, 2012

Middlebury stymied the up-tempo, full court-pressing Engineers of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) 105-86 in Pepin Gym. The 9-0 Panthers, who never trailed in the contest, used a combination of crisp passing and spacing to get easy buckets with a solid half-court game, using their size to draw 24 fouls that turned into 26 points from the free throw line.

Middlebury opened the game on an 11-2 run, bookended by a pair of lay-ups by Peter Lynch. The Panther lead hovered around 10 points for several minutes, eventually bulging to 14 on a three by Nolan Thompson, for a 26-12 lead at 10:55. The Engineers (5-4) responded with an 8-2 burst, capped by a lay-up by Jamie Zajak at 7:43, setting the score at 28-20. Middlebury built the lead back to 15 on three occasions over the next six minutes, before RPI closed out the final minute with a 6-2 run, with Zajak accounting for four points, cutting the Panther lead to 45-34 at intermission.

James Jensen led the Panther charge in the second half, opening with an 11-6 run with six points, a steal, an assist and an offensive rebound, giving Middlebury a 56-40 lead with 17:27 left to play. RPI kept the deficit around a dozen for the next 10 minutes before a 15-7 Panther run put the game out of reach at 94-75 with 4:55 left. Jack Roberts collected six points on lay-ups, while Jensen added four points from the charity stripe during that span.  

Thompson and Lynch each had 21 points for Middlebury, as Lynch added a game-best nine rebounds. Jensen chipped in a career-best 18 points on 5-10 shooting and was 8-8 from the line, with seven boards off the bench. Hunter Merryman added 14 on 6-9 shooting, while Joey Kizel chipped in 10 with six assists, as Kizel’s backcourt mate Jake Wolfin passed out a game-best eight assists. Zajac’s 17 paced RPI, as Brendan Farley and Cedric White each chipped in 10 for the Engineers.  

For the game, Middlebury held RPI to .388 shooting from the floor and 8-24 from behind the arc, including 0-9 in the first half. The Panthers were 26-33 from the free throw line, including 13-16 in the second half. This is the third game this season the Panthers have broken 100 points.

Box Score