Middlebury survived a scare from Trinity as the seventh-ranked Panthers held on for a 57-56 win over the Bantams (13-11, 4-5) in the NESCAC regular season finale for both teams. Middlebury (20-1, 8-1) earns the second-seed in the NESCAC Tournament and will host seventh-seeded Connecticut College on Saturday, Feb. 19. Trinity finishes as the fourth seed and will host fifth-seeded Tufts. Number 1 Williams will host 8 Bowdoin, while 3 Amherst entertains #6 Bates. The win marks the third straight 20 win season for the Panthers after 19 victoriess in '07-'08.
Middlebury started all four seniors in the game with Jamal Davis, Andrew Plumley, Andrew Locke and Ryan Wholey getting the nod. The Panthers came out strong early, jumping to a 10-5 lead with five points from Locke and four from Wholey. A 7-0 run by the Bantams at the 10:54 mark, gave them a 16-14 advantage on a hoop from Ian Fels with 8:53 remaining. The Panthers led by as many as nine later in the half, before Trinity ended the first 20 minutes on a 5-0 spurt to cut the lead to 25-21 at the break. Middlebury turned the ball over 11 times in the first half (none in the second), with Trinity committing 10 of their own.
Middlebury's Ryan Sharry took over the game in the first five minutes of the second half, scoring nine points, including a three, to give the Panthers a 36-29 lead at the 15:47 mark. Trinity chipped away, tying the game at 42-42 after a pair of threes from Luke Macdougall and Eric Dean with 8:57 left to play. With the game tied at 51-51, the Panthers went on a quick 6-0 spurt, taking a 57-51 advantage with 2:12 left in the game.
Macdougall hit a bucket for the Bantams to cut the lead to 57-55 with 52 seconds left to play. Following a timeout, the Panthers missed a shot with 13 seconds left, and then fouled Fells with just over two seconds remaining. Fells missed the first and then tried to intentionally missed the second shot, but banked it in. Middlebury called a timeout and was able to successfully inbound the ball and run out the clock to secure the win.
Sharry led the team with 17 points and four blocks, while Joey Kizel netted 14 in the game. Locke added 12 points, 10 boards and four blocks, while Jake Wolfin dished out seven assists.
Macdougall scored a game-high 19 for Trinity on 6 of 10 shooting, while Brian Ford scored 11.