#1 Middlebury Holds Off Rensselaer

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TROY, N.Y. – Senior Ryan Sharry connected on 19 of 23 field goal attempts and scored a career-high 41 points to lead Middlebury College to a 123-111 victory over Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in a non-league men's basketball game at East Campus Arena.

The Panthers, the top-ranked team in the nation, set a school record for points in a game on their way to improving to 10-0. Rensselaer, which got 21 points from senior Matt Pooley, falls to 3-5.

RPI opened the game by taking a 15-8 lead four minutes into the first half and held an advantage until Middlebury fought back to tie the game, 20-20 at the 12:21 mark. The score remained close throughout the first half with the Panthers holding a 64-57 lead at the break.

The second half was much of the same up-and-down the court for both teams with Middlebury pulling ahead 79-62 nearly four minutes into the second half. The Panthers held a double-digit advantage until the 12-minute mark when RPI's Nate Fiala (Willoughby, OH/Gilmour Academy) and Pooley (Middletown, NY/Chapel Field Christian School) each scored six points to help RPI pull to within seven points, 87-80.

After Middlebury increased its lead to 12 points with 8:23 remaining (100-98), the Engineers went on a 10-0 run, thanks to eight points from Pooley and a pair from Daniel Martin (Cohasset, MA/Cohasset), to get within two points (100-98) with 6:44 remaining. The Panthers countered with a 13-4 run for a 113-102 lead with four minutes left and held off the Engineers from there.

In addition to his career-high 41 points, Sharry (Braintree, MA/Boston College High School), a National All-America as a junior, had nine rebounds, four assists and four blocks in 33 minutes. He is the first player from the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) to score as many as 40 points in a game since Kanem Johnson of Wesleyan, who had 42 against Rensselaer on November 30, 2003.

Six other players reached double figures in scoring for the Panthers, who last scored at least 120 points on November 18, 2006, against Mt. Ida. Freshman Dylan Sinnickson (Sands Point, NY/Hotchkiss School) had 15 points and six rebounds, while junior Peter Lynch (Westford, MA/Westford Academy) added a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds. Junior Jake Wolfin (Woodcliff Lake, NJ/Pascack Hills) had six points and a career-high 12 assists.

For Rensselaer, five others joined Pooley, a senior, in double digits. Junior Jamie Zajac (Merrimack, NH/Bishop Guertin) had 19 points, Fiala, a sophomore, scored 15 and Martin, a junior, finished with 14 points and nine rebounds.

RPI made 42 of its 92 shots for a percentage of 45.7%, while Middlebury made 60.5% of its attempts, connecting on 49 of 81 shots.

The Engineers return to the court on Friday at 8pm when they host RIT in the Liberty League opener for both teams. Middlebury hosts NESCAC foe Bates on Friday at 8pm.