Middlebury swats Rochester
Panthers block 14 shots in victory to advance to first Elite Eight
ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Middlebury advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals for the first time in school history with a 61-52 win at Rochester in an NCAA sectional contest. The Panthers advanced to take on St. Mary’s (Md.), an 85-74 winner against Buffalo State. The teams will meet on Saturday night at 7 p.m., with the winner moving on to the final four.
Middlebury improves on its school-best record with its 27th win against just one loss.
Middlebury took a 6-3 lead early on four points from Ryan Sharry, before a pair of 3s from Rochester’s Mike Labanowski gave the Yellowjackets a 9-6 lead at the 15:02 mark. Middlebury trailed 20-19 with 9:42 left in the half before going on a 6:47 scoring drought. Fortunately for the Panthers, Rochester was only able to extend its lead to 26-19 during the stretch, with Ryan Wholey ending the slump with a 3 at the 2:55 mark.
A late first half hoop from Jamal Davis left Middlebury with a 28-24 deficit at the intermission. The Panthers held Rochester to 31.8 percent shooting from the floor in the first half, with eight blocked shots. Middlebury turned the ball over eight times, with three coming from the Yellowjackets.
Middlebury made its first three shots of the second half to take a 31-28 lead 1:51 in. Sharry hit a 3 for the Panthers at the 15:36 mark, giving them a 35-32 lead they would not relinquish.
Leading by one, Middlebury went on 8-0 run behind a pair of 3 from Jake Wolfin to give them a 43-34 advantage with 13:07 left to play. The lead remained in single digits, with the Yellowjackets making it a four-point game at 48-44 with 7:41 remaining on a hoop from Nate Novosel. Middlebury led by as many as nine later in the half, closing with a 61-52 win after a pair of free throws from Wolfin with 21 seconds remaining.
The Middlebury defense blocked 14 shots in the game, holding Rochester to 30.2 percent shooting from the floor. The Panthers held a 42-34 advantage on the boards, shooting 45.3 percent from the field.
Sharry led the balanced attack with 15 points, 10 boards and four blocks for his 14th double-double of the season. Wolfin added 13 points and four assists, Joey Kizel had 10 with five boards, while Locke scored five with eight rebounds and six blocked shots.
John DiBartolomeo paced Rochester with 13 points, Novosel added nine with six boards, while Labanowski also netted nine.