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Trinity Beaten By Middlebury In NESCAC Men's Basketball Semifinals

Chris Turnbull '17 had 23 points
Chris Turnbull '17 had 23 points

Medford, Mass. - Senior guard Matt St. Amour had 18 points to lead the Middlebury College Panthers to a 76-60 win over the Trinity College Bantams in the semifinal round of the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Men's Basketball Championship Tournament at Cousens Gymnasium on the campus of Tufts University.  Trinity senior co-captain Chris Turnbull (Ridgewood, N.J.) poured in a game-high 23 points in his final collegiate game, as the Bantams, playing in their fourth consecutive NESCAC Final Four, close the year at 16-10. The Panthers, seeded No. 2 in the tournament, advance to the NESCAC Championship game for the second-straight season and will meet No. 6-seeded Williams in the finals tomorrow at noon. 

In the opening few minutes, both teams struggled to find the shooting touch.  The Bantams grabbed a 5-4 lead on a jumper from Turnbull with 16:12 left, but the Panthers tallied the next six points, capped off by a basket from St. Amour, for a 10-5 lead with 12:47 remaining. After buckets from Trinity’s Eric Gendron (Merrimack, N.H.) and Langdon Neal (Chicago, Ill.) cut the Panther edge to one at 10-9, Middlebury rattled off a 9-1 run for a 19-10 lead on a layup from Nick Tarantino with 7:32 showing on the first-half clock.  A jumper on Trinity’s next possession from sophomor forward Connor Merinder (Andover, Mass.) pulled the Bantams back to within seven. The Panthers closed the half with 16 of the final 24 points, including a three from Perry DeLorenzo at the halftime buzzer, for a 35-20 edge at the break.

In the second half, the Bantams chipped away at the Panther advantage in the opening minutes, edging to within nine (42-33) on a three-point field goal from Turnbull with 14:38 left. Over the next 4:37 of action, Middlebury reeled off an 18-4 run for its largest lead of the game at 23 at 60-37. Matt Folger had eight points for the Panthers during the spurt, including a pair of threes.  The Bantams got as close as 13 at 71-58 on a three from Turnbull with 2:27 remaining, but the Panthers maintained a double-digit lead over the remainder of the contest.

Trinity recovered after the break from a dismal first-half shooting, improving from 22.6 percent from the field, 12.5 percent from three-point range, and 41.7 percent from the foul line to 52.9 percent from the floor in the second half.  The Bantam defense forced 19 turnovers but Middlebury finished with a 45-to-31 edge on the boards and went to the foul line 34 times to just 15 times for Trinity.  Turnbull paced Trinity with a game-high 23 points, including four threes, while Gendron was also in double figures with 10. Bantam senior co-captain Ed Ogundeko (Brooklyn, N.Y.) had a game-high 13 rebounds to finish with 993 career boards (3rd all-time at Trinity) in his career, and Merinder scored eight points off the bench.  Folger and Adisa Majors had 11 points each, while Majors added and a team-high nine rebounds for Middlebury, which shot 52.1 percent from the floor, and 46.2 percent from beyond the arc.