MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – Middlebury topped visiting Lyndon 89-59 in Pepin Gym, as the fifth-ranked Panthers improve to 20-1 on the season. The loss dropped the Hornets to 9-11 on the season overall.
Middlebury jumped out to an early 11-0 lead sparked by six straight points by Peter Lynch to open the contest. The Panthers, who never trailed in the contest, took a 21-7 lead on a three from Jake Wolfin as Middlebury's all-time assist leader scored his 1,000th point on the long distance bucket at 9:47.
Over the next six minutes the Panthers extended their lead to 34-13, but the Hornets went on a 7-0 run, capped by a three from Jason Gray (East Thetford, Vt.) at 1:57, cutting the deficit to 34-20. Lyndon's Jose Fortunato (Boston, Mass.) buzzer-beating tap-in ended the first half as the hosts took a 41-26 lead into the break.
After a Lyndon basket opened the second half, the Panthers responded with a three from Joey Kizel, followed by back-to-back threes from Nolan Thompson and a rim-rocking dunk by James Jensen highlighting a 15-4 run that blew the game wide open. Leading 56-32 with 15:12 remaining, the Middlebury lead grew to 30 on a Hunter Merryman three, later bulging to 39 points in the waning minutes as the Panthers cruised to the 89-59 victory.
Merryman led all scorers with 16 points off the bench on 6-9 shooting from the field. Thompson added 15 points and a game-best seven rebounds, while Lynch added a dozen points as five of his six rebounds were on the offensive glass, as Kizel chipped in 10. Wolfin finished with seven points for the Panthers, adding seven assists and two steals.
Gray led Lyndon with 13 points on 6-15 shooting, while Devyn Baranauskas (Waterbury, Conn.) added 11. The Hornets were out-rebounded 52-30 in the game and hit .381 (24-63) from the floor as well as .222 (4-18) from downtown.