AMHERST, Mass. – Only up three points heading into the halftime break, No. 15 Amherst College men's basketball rattled off a 13-0 run halfway through the second to top No. 3 Middlebury, 81-69, handing the Panthers their first loss on the season in New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) play Friday night at LeFrak Gymnasium.
Amherst secures an opening conference win and improves their overall record to 10-3 while the Panthers drop their first loss of the season, moving to 13-1 (0-1 NESCAC).
Trading buckets the entire first half, the largest lead for either side never exceeded five points as the game finished with 14 lead changes and eight ties.
Accounting for 11 of the opening 13 points, Devonn Allen '22 and Eric Sellew '20 got the Mammoths off on a good footing, but the Panthers matched each of the shots and tied things up at the 11:38 mark, 17-17.
After turning the ball over, Allen hustled back on defense and made up for his mistake, stealing it back and drilling a key three-pointer to regain the lead and put the Mammoths up one at the 3:09 mark.
Off a jump shot from Jack Farrell, the Panthers went up 40-39 with 1:26 remaining in the first stanza, but Grant Robinson '21 scored on the ensuing possession to put the score back in favor of Amherst.
With time winding down, the Mammoths made a defensive stand, contesting a layup from Farrell that rimmed out which allowed Garrett Day '21 to race down the court, split two defenders, and lay the ball off the glass, putting the Mammoths up three heading into the halftime break.
Allen and Sellew led the home side with eight points apiece through the opening 20 minutes, while Sellew brought down eight boards. Allen shot 3-4 (75%) from the field with Day adding seven points off the bench and two dimes.
Farrell led all scorers with 12 points on 5-12 (41.6%) shooting with five boards and one assist, while Folger added six rebounds and seven points on 3-5 (60%) from the field.
The turning point came with 11:30 remaining in the game as Day's layup and an and-one from Robinson kicked off proceedings for the Mammoths, inciting 13 unanswered points.
Notching their largest lead of the game (12) during the 13-0 run, the Mammoths stifling defense shined through as the Panthers only brought it back to within seven for a brief time before the final whistle sounded with Amherst on top, 81-69.
Finishing with a game-high 21 points, Day shot 7-10 (70%) from the field including 3-5 from downtown, while Sellew finished with his fifth double-double on the season, lending 14 points on 50% shooting (7-14) and 13 boards.
Farrell finished with a team-high 20 points with six boards, while Folger ended with eight boards and seven points. Max Bosco also reached double-digits in scoring for Middlebury, tallying 10 points on 4-11 (36.4%) shooting from the field.
The Mammoths outrebounded the Panthers 47-33 and recorded 13 assists while shooting 47.8% from the field and 8-20 (40%) from beyond the arc.
The Mammoths are right back at it with another NESCAC contest in LeFrak Gymnasium tomorrow, Jan. 11th, when they host Little Three Rival Williams at 3:00 p.m. Middlebury continues their conference road trip as they head to Hamilton tomorrow for a 3:00 p.m. tip.