Men’s Basketball Splits Weekend

By CLAIRE MESSERSMITH

MICHAEL BORENSTEIN/THE MIDDLEBURY CAMPUS
Jack Farrell ’21 passess the ball to a fellow Panther.

The men’s basketball team was on the road this past weekend, competing against two NESCAC rivals on Jan. 11 and 12. Coming hot off of a 20-point win against Widener University on Tuesday, Jan. 8, Middlebury pulled off a 100-93 victory over Bates on Friday. However, the Panthers fell to Tufts by two points on Saturday, 86-84; with seven seconds remaining in Cousens Gym, the Jumbos hit a 15-foot baseline jump shot to lift Tufts two points past the Panthers.  

Matt Folger ’20 commented on Middlebury’s loss, saying, “Certainly after this weekend we were disappointed to lose another close NESCAC game because there are only 10, so one loss can be the difference between hosting a first-round conference tournament game and not even making the tournament. However, there are a ton of good teams in our conference so while a 2-2 record in NESCAC play isn’t what we wanted coming out of the weekend, we are still in a position to make the postseason tournament and are still confident we can beat any team on our schedule.”

Both Friday and Saturday’s games were back-and-forth, and despite losing, Middlebury outrebounded the Jumbos 55-40 on Saturday afternoon. Folger himself had 16 points and 13 boards this weekend. “We moved and shared the ball well against both teams this past weekend, which is when we are most successful as a team. The energy and effort was also there, and out-rebounding Tufts on Saturday gave us an opportunity to [keep us in the game] despite our poor shooting percentage,” Folger said. 

MICHAEL BORENSTEIN/THE MIDDLEBURY CAMPUS
Joey Leighton ’20 speeds past a Keene State defender.

The Panthers also had many notable accomplishments deep in the roster this past weekend. Jack Farrell ’21 scored 20 points on Friday night against Bates and had a career high of eight assists. Fresh off the start, Middlebury’s Griffin Kornaker ’22 made an early three-pointer, leading the game 10-7 at the 15:27 mark. 

When asked what the Panthers would work on in practice this week, Folger mentioned, “We’re going to focus on our defensive rotations and transition defense because a few missed rotations can be the difference in close games.”

The Panthers will compete on the road against at Albertus Magnus College — a team that is skilled in transition on the court — on Jan. 15, and then take on the Williams Ephs on Saturday, Jan. 19. 

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Men’s Basketball Splits Weekend