Men’s Hoops: Wesleyan Edges Middlebury 80-77

Courtesy Middlebury Sports Information

MIDDLEBURY — Wesleyan hung on for an 80-77 win over #24 Middlebury (10-3, 1-1) in NESCAC action Saturday afternoon in Pepin Gym. The Panthers return to action at Widener on Tuesday, while the Cardinals (9-4, 1-1) will host Hamilton on Friday.

Middlebury jumped out to a 12-2 lead when Jack Farrell knocked down a three at the 16:05 mark. Wesleyan scored 10 of the game’s next 14 points, making it a 16-12 contest on a layup from Shackylle Denzonie with 11:37 remaining in the first half. Trailing 27-20 with 5:13 on the clock, the Cardinals went on a 9-2 run, tying the game at 29-29 when Joe DeLollo knocked down a three with under three minutes remaining. The visitors took their first lead of the game (33-32) when Austin Hutcherson connected on a pair of free throws, holding a 37-34 advantage at the break.

Middlebury led 46-43 in the second half when Hutcherson converted from long range to tie the game for the seventh time. The Panthers took their largest lead of the half with 7:44 remaining when Eric McCord converted after a steal from Hilal Dahleh, putting the hosts up 60-55. Just under two minutes later, the Cardinals went on a 7-0 spurt to move ahead 66-62 on a three from Hutcherson with 5:02 on the clock. Middlebury came back, leading by one (69-68) on layup from Farrell at the 3:27 mark.

Wesleyan stormed back with a 9-0 run to lead 77-69, before a three by Farrell made it a 77-72 contest with 1:22 left to play. The hosts trailed 80-77 advantage after a three from Griffin Kornaker with 50 seconds remaining and then got a stop on the defensive end. A game-tying three-point attempt missed with nine seconds left, as a foul sent the Cardinals to the line. After a missed free throw, Middlebury grabbed the rebound and called timeout with 3.5 seconds on the clock. A last-second heave from mid-court missed left at the buzzer, as Wesleyan picked up the 80-77 road win.

Farrell led Middlebury with 23 points to go along with six rebounds, five assists and four steals. Kornaker finished with 14 points, while Bosco added 11. Dahleh netted nine in the contest, while McCord earned eight points and eight rebounds.

Hutcherson led all scorers with 36 points, Jordan James netted 13, while Jordan Bonner scored a dozen with 10 boards.

Middlebury was outscored 17-2 on the free throw line as the Cardinals went 17-20 and the Panthers were 2-4.