Middlebury jumped out to a 38-20 halftime lead over visiting Keene State and cruised to a 81-53 win over the Owls in Pepin Gym. With the victory, the sixth-ranked Panthers (17-1) avenged a 77-76 loss at Keene State last season when Middlebury was the top-ranked team in the nation. For the game the Panthers shot 33-56 from the floor and 8-13 from behind the arc, holding the Owls (11-8) to 23-66 from the field and 3-14 from long distance.
Middlebury lead 8-6 before a lengthy 20-5 run gave them a 28-11 lead with 9:42 remaining in the first half. The final five points of the run came on a two and a three from Jake Wolfin, both following blocks on the defensive end by James Jensen. Keene State went 6:13 without scoring in the first half, with a lay-up from Tom Doyle breaking the draught at the 6:29 mark, making it a 28-13 game. A bucket by Hunter Merryman with 1:46 remaining gave the Panthers their biggest lead of the half at 36-15, as the Panthers went on to take a 38-20 advantage into the break.
Middlebury shot 62.1% from the floor in the first half, blocking seven shots with five of them coming from Jensen. Keene shot just 29% from the floor in the game's first 20 minutes.
Peter Lynch gave Middlebury a 20-point lead on a jumper to open the second half as the hosts lead grew to 61-31 midway through the half on a three by Nolan Thompson. The lead bulged to 70-33 on a lay-up by Jack Roberts at 7:29. The Owls put together a late 11-2 run, capped by a three from Bobby Crane from the corner at 4:08 cutting the deficit to 72-44.
Wolfin, Joey Kizel and Lynch each scored a game-best 14 for Middlebury, as Wolfin notched a game-high nine assists. Thompson went 2-2 from behind the arc, finishing with six points and a game-high 10 rebounds. Roberts finished with nine points and three blocks as the Panthers collected a season-high nine blocks in the game.
Anthony Mariano came off the bench for Keene State and scored a team-high 10 points on 4-8 shooting, while Rashad Wright nabbed a team-high 10 rebounds, including a game-best seven offensive caroms.
Courtesy: Middlebury Athletics
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