KEENE, N.H. — Top-ranked Middebury lost its first game, as the Panthers (18-1) fell 77-76 at Keene State on Tuesday night. The Owls (15-4), who have won a season-high six consecutive games, handed Middlebury its first loss since falling to St. Thomas in the NCAA semifinals last March.
With 1:12 to play, Rashad Wright hit a turnaround jumper in the paint to give the Owls a 77-76 lead. After a pair of Middlebury turnovers, KSC inbounded the ball with 11 seconds to play to Ryan Martin. Martin, who was last year’s free throw percentage leader (97 percent) missed the front-end of a one-and-one giving the Panthers another chance.
Joey Kizel drove into the paint for what would have been the game-winning layup, but Wright was there to deny the shot, with his second block of the game.
|TOP 25 SCORES|
|Keene St. 77, No. 1 Middlebury 76|
|No. 6 Amherst 79, RIC 69|
|No. 15 Augustana 80, Ill.-Wesleyan 78 OT|
|No. 22 Oswego St. 89, Brock. St. 75|
|No. 23 Wheaton (Ill.) 82, Millikin 27|
On the inbounds play, the Panthers still had 0.8 seconds left, as leading scorer Ryan Sharry found himself with a look at a three, but the ball clanged off the backboard and the rim giving KSC the win.
Middlebury jumped out to a 10-point lead with 6:21 to play on a 3-pointer from Kizel, making it 72-62. After a KSC timeout, the Owls finished the contest on a 15-5 run, to pull out the victory.
Kizel and Sharry reached double-figures for the Panthers, with 24 and 18 points respectively. It was the tale of two-halves for them, as Sharry started the game with 16 points and only finished with two in the second half. Kizel had six in the first half, and had 18 in the second, including shooting a perfect 4-4 from beyond the arc.
Sharry and Peter Lynch each had a game-high 10 rebounds.
Four players reached double-figures for the Owls, led by Wright with 15 points and a team-high nine rebounds.
Anthony Mariano had a strong night with 14 points, six rebounds and three steals. Martin and Ollie Hunter each finished with 11 points.
KSC shot 50 percent from the free throw line (13-26) while the Panthers shot a blistering 88 percent (15-17). The Panthers turned the ball over 22 times, leading to 30 Keene State points. Middlebury was 9-13 (69 percent) from behind the arc, shooting 49 percent from the floor.