MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – The 14th-ranked Wesleyan University men's basketball team defeated No. 4 Middlebury College Saturday afternoon in Silloway Gymnasium, 80-70. Three players scored in double-figures for the Cardinals, who led most of the game, as they improve to 10-2 overall and 1-1 in the NESCAC. Following the loss, the Panthers drop to 8-3 on the season and 1-1 in league play.
Nathan Krill '18 scored a team-high 14 points while Austin Hutcherson '21 and JR Bascom '18 added 13 and 12, respectively. Middlebury was led by Jack Daly as he finished two assists shy of a triple-double. Daly led all players with 21 points, 15 rebounds, and eight assists.
FIRST HALF HIGHLIGHTS:
- Krill scored the first basket of the game with a three-pointer at the 19:06 mark. After a pair of free throws by Bascom and a lay-up by Kevin O'Brien '19 less than two minutes later, the home team led 7-2.
- Middlebury went on a 6-0 run to take its first lead of the game at the 15:05 mark following a basket by Nick Tarantino.
- The game went back-and-forth for most of the first 20 minutes of action until a pair of foul shots from Krill with 8:39 to play gave the Cardinals a 21-19 advantage. They would lead the rest of the half.
- With time running out, Hutcherson found Krill in the corner for a three as the senior knocked it down as the clock expired to give Wesleyan a 40-32 halftime lead.
- Krill led all scorers at the break with 11 points while Adisa Majors had a team-high eight for the Panthers.
SECOND HALF HIGHLIGHTS:
- Middlebury went on a 9-2 run to start the second as a three-pointer by Jack Farrell cut the deficit to one with 18:12 to play.
- At the 11:34 mark, Daly put the Panthers on top for the first time since the opening minutes of the first half as he hit one from behind-the-arc to give the visitors a 55-54 advantage.
- The lead was short-lived, however, as Wesleyan rallied with an 11-0 run capped off by a steal and fast break lay-up from Hutcherson to put the Cardinals ahead 65-55 with 8:00 remaining.
- Back-to-back three-pointers by Middlebury minutes later cut the deficit to four (67-63) but Wesleyan responded once again and claimed a nine-point lead (73-64) with 1:36 on the clock.
- A 6-0 run by the Panthers cut the margin to three, 73-70 with :47 remaining, but Wesleyan's stifling defense kept Middlebury scoreless in the closing seconds while the Cardinals hit 7-of-10 foul shots to seal the victory.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Wesleyan shot 46.3% (25-54) from the floor and 41.2% (7-17) from downtown while holding Middlebury to 35.1% (27-77) shooting. The Panthers held a slight 43-41 edge in rebounding.
- Krill finished with 14 points on 4-of-4 shooting from downtown. O'Brien and Hutcherson dished out five and four assists, respectively, and David Dixon '20 led the team with eight boards including six points on 3-of-6 shooting. Jordan Sears '18 continues to be a force defensively as he finished with four blocks and two steals.
- Daly was the lone Panther in double-figures while Hilal Dahleh scored nine and Matt Folger, Joey Leighton and Majors each scored eight. Folger added eight boards as well and two blocks.
- The win snaps a 15-game losing streak against Middlebury. Wesleyan's last win against the Panthers, prior to today, occurred during the 2004-05 season.
- The Cardinals are back in action next Friday, Jan. 12 as they take on Hamilton at 7 p.m. followed by Amherst on Saturday at 3 p.m.