|Middlebury College||Bates College|
LEWISTON, Maine — The No. 15 nationally ranked Middlebury Panthers tallied 21 second chance points on their way to handing the Bates men’s basketball team their first NESCAC loss of the season by a final score of 79-71 Saturday afternoon at Alumni Gym.
The Panthers (12-2, 3-1 NESCAC) outrebounded the Bobcats (12-4, 3-1 NESCAC) 45-31 and converted 21 second chance points, compared to only seven second chance points for Bates.
The Bobcats never led in the game.
Middlebury’s Jake Brown led all scorers with 22 points, including 16 in the first half, as the Panthers built a 12-point lead by intermission.
First-year Jeff Spellman (Boston, Mass.) provided a spark off the bench for Bates, leading the Bobcats with 14 points on 4-7 shooting. Senior Malcolm Delpeche (Wilmington, Del.) added 12 points and seven rebounds while junior Justin Zukowski (Portland, Maine) chipped in 12 points as well.
Brown scored the first nine points of the game for the Panthers, helping them build an early 9-2 lead.
Bates cut the deficit to two a couple times in the first half, with Malcolm Delpeche’s layup trimming the score to 9-7 with 15:15 to go and Zukowski’s old fashioned three-point play making the score 17-15 in favor of Middlebury with 12 minutes left.
But the Panthers went on a 6-0 run to extend their lead to 23-15 on an Eric McCord jumper with 9:37 left in the first.
Bates got to within four points on a layup from senior Marcus Delpeche (Wilmington, Del.) with 8:19 to go in the first half. Brown missed a layup on the Panthers’ next possession but Matt Folger got the rebound and kicked it out to Matt St. Amour, who drained a three.
The second chance points piled up all night for the Panthers and a Brown layup with 7:19 to go extended their lead to 28-19, forcing Bates to call timeout.
The Panthers led by as many as 18 points in the first half before Bates rallied to cut the lead to 12 at halftime. An Adisa Majors jumper with 2:17 to go extended the Panthers’ edge to 39-21 but Malcolm Delpeche responded with a layup, senior Quin Leary (Auburn, Maine) drilled a three and senior Jerome Darling (Hartford, Conn.) hit a three as well to makes the score 39-29.
St. Amour didn’t allow the Bobcats to take the momentum into halftime though as he hit a ridiculous fadeaway baseline jumper at the buzzer.
The Bobcats outscored the Panthers by four points in the second half, mainly thanks to Spellman scoring all 14 of his points after the halftime break.
Spellman cut the deficit to 11 with 11:35 to go after he made a layup, drawing a foul in the process. His made free throw made the score 54-43 in favor of Middlebury with 11:35 remaining in regulation.
But with 10:37 to go, Bryan Jone hit a dagger three to extend the Panther lead back to 14.
Bates didn’t cut the Middlebury advantage to single digits until there were just 52 seconds left in the contest. Zukowski’s layup made the score 73-64 in favor of the Panthers.
Bates had some success utilizing a full court press in the final two minutes but by the time first-year Tom Coyne (Falmouth, Maine) hit a three to make the score 79-71, it was too little, too late.