First-Seeded Men’s Basketball Bows Out Early


Jack Farrell ’21 finds his way to the hoop in the NESCAC quarterfinal against Tufts.

The Middlebury men’s basketball yteam, ranked 25th overall, fell to Tufts this past Saturday in the NESCAC quarterfinals at home, Saturday, Feb. 16. The Panthers were seeded first in the NESCAC and remain hopeful for an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament after the NESCAC tournament comes to a close. 

A back-and-forth game from start to finish, Tufts had its biggest lead over the Panthers with seven minutes remaining in the first half, 26-21. The first half alone had eight lead changes and six ties, one tie produced from a free throw from Eric McCord ’19 with five minutes to spare on the clock to make the game 27-27. Middlebury then edged Tufts by a point with 17 seconds in the first half on the clock, with a layup by Hilal Dahleh ’19 that made the game 39-38. 

Tufts scored a three-pointer right as the buzzer sounded before the half, leaving the game 41-39 as both teams broke for halftime. 

Middlebury came out hot on the court in the second half and held a 72-67 lead over Tufts with five and a half minutes remaining in the game. The Jumbos, ranked eighth in the NESCAC, closed the game with 18 points, holding Middlebury to only four. Tufts pulled off the victory 85-76.

Eric McCord, co-captain of the Panthers, led the team and the game in points and rebounds, 19 and 10, respectively. Jack Farrell ’21 put up 13 points and four assists. 

As Middlebury waits for its opportunity at an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament, Tufts will advance to the NESCAC semifinals. With an impressive 18-7 record, Middlebury—the top-ranked team in the NESCAC entering the postseason—will anxiously await the NCAA decision.