Hamilton edges Middlebury on last-second basket
Hamilton College's Andrew Groll '19 made a basket with 0.8 seconds left and lifted the Continentals to a 64-62 NESCAC win against the Middlebury College Panthers at Hamilton's Margaret Bundy Scott Field House on Saturday afternoon.
The Continentals (10-9, 1-5 NESCAC) had called a 30-second timeout with 24.9 seconds left when Hamilton's Michael Grassey '19 grabbed his own miss and was fouled. The Continentals inbounded the ball under their own basket and, with the shot clock off, moved the ball around for the last shot. Peter Hoffmann '19 found Groll open in the lane from the left wing and Groll dribbled, turned and made a jump hook. A three-quarter court shot by Middlebury was well short of the mark as time expired.
Groll recorded his fifth double-double this season -- and his fourth in January -- with a game-high 18 points and 14 rebounds. The 14 boards tie a season-best total. Groll is sixth in the conference with 7.8 rebounds per game.
Hoffmann finished with nine points, seven rebounds and three steals for Hamilton. Joe Pucci '18 dropped in 11 points off the bench and fellow reserve Ajani Santos '16 chipped in nine points. The Continentals' bench outscored the Panthers' reserves, 29-16. Hamilton ended up with a 45-36 advantage on the glass.
Matt St. Amour paced Middlebury (11-8, 4-2) with 14 points. St. Amour, who leads the team in scoring, was 5 of 19 from the floor. Matt Daley added 12 points before he fouled out with 2:33 remaining. Adisa Mahors contributed eight points, nine rebounds and three steals. Jack Daly handed out six assists and Jake Brown was credited with five. The Panthers scored 36 of their 62 points in the paint.
The Continentals jumped out to an early 6-3 lead before Middlebury grabbed the advantage with an 11-0 run. St. Amour, Daley, Brown and Majors all made layups and Hilal Dahleh capped the spurt with a 3-pointer -- his only points of the afternoon -- for a 14-6 cushion.
The Panthers' lead fluctuated between four and 11 points the rest of the half. A trifecta by Liam Naughton gave Middlebury a 37-26 advantage with 1:59 to go in the half. The Panthers led 39-32 at the break. Hamilton missed all six of its 3-point attempts in the first 20 minutes.
Middlebury opened the second half with a 10-2 run and took its largest lead of the afternoon of 15 points at 49-34 with 16:33 left. Daley scored five of the Panthers' 10 points during the run.
The Continentals responded with an 18-5 spurt and clawed back to within two points at 54-52 with 11:06 remaining. Pucci scored six points during the run and Grassey capped it with a 3-pointer. Middlebury's slim lead moved between two and four points for the next six-plus minutes until Pucci tied the score at 62-62 on a jumper with 4:28 to go.
The teams were stuck on that score until Groll's last-second basket, which was also Hamilton's first lead since the first four minutes of the game. During the four-plus minute scoreless stretch near the end, the Panthers missed five shots and committed two turnovers, and the Continentals were also 0 of 5 from the field with a pair of miscues. Middlebury shot 29.4 percent from the floor in the final 20 minutes.
The Panthers' win streak ended at four games and they dropped to 5-8 away from home this season. Hamilton defeated Middlebury for the second time in the last 11 meetings and the Continentals hold a 23-20 lead in the all-time series.
Hamilton hosts Union College for the last non-conference game this season on Monday, Feb. 1, at 8 p.m.