Hartford, Conn. - Sophomore guard Nick Seretta (Greenfield, Mass.) poured in a career-high 30 points but it was not enough as the No. 10-ranked Middlebury Panthers escaped with an 87-81 victory over the Trinity College Bantams in New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) men's basketball action on Sunday afternoon at Oosting Gymnasium in Hartford. The Bantams, who honored co-captains Eric Gendron (Merrimack, N.H.) and Dan Padalino (West Sand Lake, N.Y.) before the game as a part of Senior Day, fall to 13-6 overall and 2-4 in conference play while Middlebury improves to 15-3 on the year and remains atop the NESCAC standings with a 5-1 league record.
Seretta led all players in scoring on a blistering 9-of-13 shooting performance off the bench for Trinity. Junior Jeremy Arthur (Westbury, N.Y.) added 11 points and eight boards while sophomore Kyle Padmore (Milton, Mass.) also finished in double-figures with 10 for a Bantam squad that over 47% from the field on the afternoon. Middlebury was paced by Jack Daly (Eastchester, N.Y.) who finished with 26 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists, while Eric McCord (Westford, Mass.) and Jack Farrell (Verona, N.J.) finished with 18 and 16 points, respectively. The Panthers shot an astounding 51 free throws compared to just 17 for Trinity as 18 of Daly's 26 points came from the charity stripe.
Arthur scored the first four points of the game in an early, back-and-forth affair. Seretta drilled a jump shot to tie things, 15-15 at the 12-minute mark, before stroking a three-pointer to give the Bantams an 18-17 lead a few possessions later. After a pair of free-throws by Daly made it 25-22 in favor of Trinity, the Bantams went on a quick 6-0 run thanks to a dunk in transition by Padmore, followed by buckets from Arthur and junior Judah Woney (Harlem, N.Y.), to open up their largest lead of the half, 31-22, with 6:13 left. The Panthers answered, however, with a 12-0 run of their own, capped off by layups from Daly and McCord on consecutive offensive possessions to take a 34-31 lead with 3:19 showing on the board. Middlebury ended the half with three-straight free throws to take a 43-37 lead into the halftime break.
The Panthers held Trinity at arm's length for the first part of the second half, maintaining a 59-52 lead with 12:11 left to go. Trinity sophomore Jadakis Brooks (Elmira, N.Y.) ripped away a steal and pulled up for a jumper at the other end of the floor to cut the deficit to five before buckets by Seretta and sophomore Joseph Bell (Manchester, N.H.) made it a 61-58 game in Middlebury's favor with just over ten minutes to play.
A old-fashioned three-point play by Seretta got the Bantams within two but Middlebury responded with a quick 7-0 run to reclaim a nine-point advantage. Down five with 2:51 remaining, Padmore converted a layup, making it 74-71 Middlebury, but Farrell answered with a triple, just Middlebury's second of the day, at the other end of the floor to maintain breathing room for the visitors. The Bantams tried to rally a comeback but the Panthers continued to convert at the charity stripe down the stretch as they held on for the six-point victory.