Middlebury

Men's Basketball Tops Skidmore

December 7, 2013

Matt St. Amour scored a career-high 27 points to lead Middlebury past Skidmore 89-84 on the road. The Panthers (6-2) built a comfortable lead late in the game before the Thoroughbreds made it a one-possession game in the final seconds. A Panther dunk by Jack Roberts with eight seconds left gave Middlebury some needed breathing room to secure the win.
  
After the teams traded baskets for the opening nine minutes of play, Skidmore (3-2) managed to create the first separation with five-straight points from Aldin Medunjanin to take a 16-11 lead. The teams continued to go back-and-forth over the next four minutes, with Middlebury eventually taking its first two-possession lead of the game with ten minutes to play in the first on a three-pointer by Joey Kizel. Erik Sanders followed for Skidmore, cutting the deficit to one at 28-27, hitting a three-pointer from the corner with five minutes to play.
 
Middlebury continued to knock down shots over the final four minutes of the first, closing the half with a 14-7 run to take a 42-34 lead into the break.
 
The Thorughbreds cut the Middlebury lead to two with an 8-2 run to start the second. Connor Merrill drove in for a layup for the first basket of the half, Brian Moore knocked down a deep three and Medunjanin got a layup to fall while getting fouled.
 
St. Amour managed to kill the Skidmore momentum, hitting back-to-back threes on the next two Middlebury possessions, giving the Panthers a 53-44 lead. Down eight with 13 minutes to play, Sanders started another Thoroughbreds rally, making a tough a layup to open a 7-0 run that brought Skidmore within one at 56-55.
 
The Panthers countered with a 15-4 run of their own, taking a 71-59 lead with seven minutes remaining. St. Amour increased the Middlebury advantage to a seemingly comfortable 14 points with under five minutes to play, driving in from the wing for a layup.
 
Medunjanin brought the Thoroughbreds back within striking distance with under three minutes remaining, rattling off seven-straight points to cut the deficit to 77-72. While Skidmore was forced to foul late in the game, Middlebury converted on its free throws down the stretch, countering threes by Merrill and Tanner Brooks, as the long balls made it an 87-84 game with 17 seconds left to play.

As Skidmore tried to double-team the in-bounds pass, Middlebury beat the press and Roberts was all alone under the Thoroughbreds’ hoop, flushing the dunk for an 89-84 lead with eight seconds left. Skidmore missed their lone shot as the Panthers held on for the win.

St. Amour scored  his career-best 27 points for the Panthers, hitting 8-14 from the field and 7-7 from the line. As a team the Panthers connected on 23-27 from the charity stripe including 14-14 in the second half. Kizel added 24 points, going 8-10 from the field including 4-5 from three-point range, and Hunter Merryman scored 11 points.

Medunjanin scored 20 second-half points for a total of 31 to lead all scorers, while adding six rebounds and five assists for Skidmore. Sanders had 22 points and six rebounds and  Merrill had 11 points and five boards for the hosts.