Middlebury, Vt. - The visiting Trinity College Bantams lost at the No. 5-ranked Middlebury College Panters, 66-59, to fall to 9-14 and 2-7 in the New England Small College Athletic Conference. The setback eliminated the Bantams from contention for the post-season with one ame remaining, while Middlebury won its fifth straight game to up its season mark to 21-1 overall and 8-1 in the league. Trinity will close the 2012-13 season on Tuesday, February 12 at No. 7-ranked Williams.
Trinity held a 7-2 lead 3:14 into the game before six straight Middlebury points gave the Panthers an 8-7 lead. The game went back and forth, with the eighth tie of the half coming on a bucket from Trinity freshman Shay Ajayi (Brooklyn, N.Y.) with 50 seconds remaining in the half. Joey Kizel answered on the other end for the Panthers as they took a 30-28 lead into the intermission.
Leading by one, Middlebury went on a 10-1 run 1:42 into the second half to take a 43-33 lead with 13:47 remaining. A three from Kizel and one from Nolan Thompson were the key buckets over the 3:30 span. Trinity answered by scoring 13 of the game’s next 15 points to cut the lead to one a 46-45 with 8:22 remaining. Sophomore center George Papadeas (Athens, Greece) scored five points during the comeback, while rookie guard Jaquann Starks (Hartford, Conn.) hit a three.
The back and forth continued as the Panthers battle back with an 11-2 run to make it a 10-point game at 57-47 with 4:33 left to play. The Bantams were able to come within five on a hoop from Starks with 3:06 remaining, but the Panthers hung tough down the stretch and emerged with the 66-59 win. Kizel led the team with 16 points, Peter Lynch scored 14, while Hunter Merryman had a dozen. Thompson added eight points and five boards, while Jake Wolfin had eight points, three assists and two steals. Starks paced the Bantams with 14 points, while Papadeas scored a dozen with a game-high 14 rebounds.