Middlebury, Vt. - The visiting Trinity College Bantams completed
an impressive league season with a 9-1 final mark in the New
England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC), posting a 90-85
victory against the Middlebury College Panthers this evening at
Pepin Gymnasium. Trinity, which clinched the top seed in the
NESCAC Championship Tournament for the third time last weekend,
finish the regular campaign with an 19-5 overall mark and will host
a NESCAC Quarterfinal game next Saturday. The Panthers drop
to 16-7 overall and 3-6 in the league and need a victory over
Amherst tomorrow coupled with a Wesleyan loss on Saturday at
Williams to secure a post-season bid.
In the opening half, Trinity scored five points in a row to erase an 8-4 Panther lead early on a layup from sophomore forward Ed Ogundeko (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and a three-point field goal from junior guard Rick Naylor (Sudbury, Vt.). The Bantams added an 8-0 spurt moments later on five points from junior guard Andrew Hurd (Windsor, Conn.) and a trio of free throws from senior tri-captain center George Papadeas (Athens, Greece). Middlebury whittled away the Bantam advantage to three points (21-18) on a tip-in by Matt Daley with 7:30 left. The visitors outscored the Panthers 18-6 over the remainder of the half, including six on two more Naylor treys and four more a pair of Ogundeko dunks, taking a 39-24 bulge into the intermission.
Out of the break, Trinity kept the momentum on its side, scoring the first seven points of the half and grabbed its largest lead of the game at 46-24 at 17:52 on a three-pointer from junior guard Jaquann Starks (Hartford, Conn.). The Bantams maintained nearly a 20-point advantage over the next 11 minutes, as Ogundeko nailed a jumper that gave Trinity an 18-point edge (68-50) with 6:59 left. Middlebury tallied the next six points in a span of 52 seconds on lay-ups by Merryman and Connor Huff, sandwiched around a pair of charity tosses from Jake Brown to cut it to 12 at 68-56 with 6:07 remaining. Trinity scored six of the next nine points and held a 74-59 advantage at the 4:57 mark.
The Panthers began fouling to extend the game with 4:30 left on
the clock. The teams traded points as the Bantams knocked down
12-16 free throws and had a 10-point advantage 86-76 with 1:14 on
the clock. Middlebury pulled to within four (87-83) via a 7-1 spurt
over the next 48 seconds, capped off via a tip-in put-back from
Dylan Sinnickson with 26 ticks left. Starks made three of four free
throws down the stretch to put it away, however.
Starks paced five Bantams with 16 points and yanked down a team-best nine boards, while Papadeas added 15 points. Hurd and Ogundeko each had 13 points and Naylor ended with 11. The contest featured 29 fouls for each team, and 77 total free throws. Middlebury went 80 percent (32-40) from the charity stripe, while Trinity knocked down 67.6 percent (25-37) of its attempts. Matt St. Amour led four Panthers in double-figures with 20 points, all in the second half, while Merryman added 16.