Matt St. Amour knocked down a pair of free throws with eight seconds left in the second overtime lifting the Middlebury men's basketball team to a thrilling 77-75 victory against Wesleyan (6-9, 0-3) Friday evening in Silloway Gym. The Panthers (9-5, 2-1) continue NESCAC action Sunday afternoon when they play Connecticut College on the road at 2:00 p.m. and Wesleyan hits the road Sunday for a 2:00 p.m. game with Baruch.
The first half featured a defensive struggle as the two teams were tied at 12-12 and then again 15-15 with 6:06 left when Middlebury's Dylan Sinnickson canned a three-pointer via an assist from Jake Brown. The Panthers kept that momentum going with a 7-0 spurt during the ensuing three minutes of action that ended with a three-pointer and a jumper by Hunter Merryman. The Cardinals responded with a 7-0 run of their own and tied the contest at 25-25 as the teams exchanged makes and were tied 29-29 at the break. Of note, there were six ties and 12 lead changes during the back-and-forth opening stanza.
Out of the half, Wesleyan tallied nine of the next 12 points and possessed a 38-32 edge via a jumper from Harry Rafferty with 15:54 on the clock. Middlebury slowly chipped away at the deficit and eventually cut it to one at 43-42 with 10:30 remaining on a bucket by James Jensen. Over the next six minutes, Wesleyan pushed that lead back to six and held a 53-47 lead with just under five minutes on a three-pointer from Jack Mackey. Not finished, Middlebury went on an 8-2 run fueled by a pair of threes from Sinnickson and a jumper from Joey Kizel and knotted the score at 55-55 with 2:12 left. Wesleyan had two chances at the end of regulation, but failed to score sending the game to overtime.
In the first overtime, the teams weren't able to gain more than a two-point edge until Joe Edmonds knocked down a pair of charity tosses with 28 ticks left and gave Wesleyan a three-point cushion, 67-64. However, just seven seconds later, Kizel raced down the court and hit a long three tying the game 67-67 as the Panther defense denied a game-winner once again for Wesleyan in the final seconds.
Middlebury went on a 7-2 run in the second extra session and held a 74-69 edge with 2:20 remaining. Wesleyan clawed back and tied the game at 75-75 on a jumper from Rashid Epps with 11 seconds left. St. Amour was fouled as he raced down the floor and into the paint and calmly knocked down both free throws giving the Panthers the two-point win.
Offensively, Sinnickson, who knocked down six threes, and Kizel led Middlebury with 18 points apiece. Kizel tied a season high handing out nine assists. Additionally, Jensen came off the bench and poured in 13 points to go along with six boards, while Merryman finished with 10. For Wesleyan, Edmonds led all scorers with 22 points to go along with a game-high nine rebounds, while Rafferty added 17 points and eight boards.