Second-Half Run Propels Men’s Basketball Past Keene State

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Dylan Sinnickson scored a career-high 26 points and hauled in 14 rebounds to lead Middlebury to a 92-86 win over Keene State College in a non-conference men's basketball game in Spaulding Gym on Tuesday night. Middlebury will host Colby College at 8:00 p.m. on Friday.

The Owls raced out to a quick 9-2 lead. Nate Howard started proceedings with a dunk off a pass from Tre' Tipton, and Lucas Hammel fed Tom Doyle with a nifty pass for a layup that forced the Panthers into a timeout.

Keene State pushed the advantage to seven points (26-19) on Hammel's drive to the hoop, but five straight points from Middlebury's Hunter Merryman trimmed the deficit back to two points. The Owls slowly restored their advantage, as Hammel scored again, and Howard converted a conventional three point play to stretch the lead back to 35-26. Tipton knocked down a pair of foul shots with 11 seconds left in the half, but Merryman responded with a three just ahead of the halftime buzzer. KSC led 48-41 at halftime, shooting a sizzling 52.6% (20-38).

The Owls ran the lead out to 10 points on Tipton's jumper at the 16:09 mark of the second half, but the Panthers scored the next 17 points to take the lead for good. Kizel and Sinnickson combined for 13 points during that span.

Consecutive baskets by Jeff Lunn drew Keene State within 66-63 with 9:41 to play, but Middlebury pushed the lead back to 77-70 on a jumper by Sinnickson. Nick Gagliolo swished a three with 3:08 on the clock to pull KSC within 82-79, but Sinnickson iced the game with a triple of his own with 1:33 to play, and the Panthers went 7-for-8 from the free throw line in the final minute to salt away the win.

Middlebury held a slight 44-43 edge in rebounds, and a big advantage at the charity stripe, where the Panthers connected on 29-40 attempts.

Keene State was led by 20 points and seven boards from Howard, and 18 points from Tipton. Lunn netted 16 points on 8-12 shooting, and Gagliolo scored a season-high 10 points.

In addition to Sinnickson, the Panthers got 23 points and five assists from Joey Kizel, 14 points from Merryman, and 10 from James Jensen.