Rams Fall Short in NCAA First Round at #6 Middlebury

Weldon Irvine
Weldon Irvine

#6 Middlebury - 84, Farmingdale State - 75

Middlebury, Vt. - #6 Middlebury College hosted the First Round of the 2017 NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Championship at the Pepin Gymnasium this evening. Farmingdale State held a four-point lead at half but fell, 84-75.

Leading 13-12 with 11:33 remaining in the first half, the Rams (20-8) used back-to-back layups from freshman guard Chaz Platt (Jamaica, N.Y.) and sophomore guard Ryan Kennedy (Maspeth, N.Y.) to extend the advantage to five. After two straight Adisa Majors (New York, N.Y.) scores brought Middlebury (25-3) back within one, FSC's Matthew Graham (Valley Stream, N.Y.) rattled off four consecutive baskets to put the Rams on top, 25-16, with 7:07 left to play.

The Panthers trailed 27-18 until a 10-0 run which saw six points from junior guard Jack Daly (Eastchester, N.Y.) gave Middlebury a one-point edge with 3:12 remaining in the half.

Leading 31-30, Graham connected on a 3-pointer and senior forward Weldon Irvine* (Queens, N.Y.) followed with a layup to extend the advantage to six. Jack hit a layup with one second remaining for Middlebury as the Rams went into the break up, 36-32.

After a pair of Ali Mableton (Brentwood, N.Y.) free-throws early in the second half put Farmingdale State back on top by four, 40-36, the Panthers went on a 10-0 run to open up a six-point advantage with 15:04 left to play. Mableton again connected on a pair at the line on FSC's next possession before an 8-0 Middlebury run capped off by 3's from both Matt Folger (Weston, Conn.) and Matt St. Amour (Swanton, Conn.) extended the lead to 54-42.

With 8:23 left in the game, St. Amour hit a 3 to put the Panthers ahead 67-55 but FSC sophomore forward George Riefenstahl (Bayport, N.Y.) responded with two straight baskets and a pair of free-throws to pull the Rams within six, 67-61.

Middlebury regained their 12-point lead with 5:01 remaining and the Rams followed with an 8-0 run over the next 2:31 to cut the deficit to four, 75-71.

With 36 seconds on the clock and Farmingdale State down 78-73, Majors hit two free-throws to extend the advantage to seven. St. Amour was a perfect 4-for-4 at the line down the stretch as the Panthers held on for the 84-75 First Round victory.

Riefenstahl recorded a double-double with 18 points, a game-high 15 rebounds and four blocks, while Graham scored 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting. Irvine finished his four-year career at Farmingdale State with 10 points on 5-of-6 shooting and eight rebounds.

The balanced Middlebury offense had three players finish the game with 18 points. Majors tallied a double-double of 18 points and 11 boards, while Daly had a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds to go along with six assists. St. Amour scored 18 points, had six assists and five steals in the win.

The Panthers will now host #15 Lycoming in the Second Round tomorrow at 7:00 p.m.

Meanwhile on the campus of Farmingdale State, over 100 students, faculty and staff gathered for the March RaMadness Party to root on the men's basketball team with a live stream of their NCAA First Round game.