Panthers Start Strong But No. 25 Middlebury Comes Out On Top Monday

Photo by Wade Aiken
Photo by Wade Aiken

BRADFORD, Pa. -- The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford men's basketball team held the lead at halftime but ultimately could not hold on in a non-conference tilt against No. 25 Middlebury at the KOA Arena Monday, 72-53.

"We put ourselves in position at half to beat a ranked team and couldn't take advantage of it," Head Coach Ryan Shay said. "The guys battled defensively, but we couldn't get anything going in the second half."

With the decision, Middlebury improves to 7-2 and Pitt-Bradford moves to 2-7.

Jeffrey Fry led the Panthers with 14 points and Dylan Mitchell dropped 10 points.

Fry connected on 3-4 attempts from long range. He was also fouled shooting a three-pointer in the first half and made all three free throws.

It was the tale of two halves as the Panthers came through with a 36-29 advantage in the opening half but were outscored 43-17 in the second half.

In the opening possessions, Middlebury came short on its first six attempts from deep. In the whole first half, Middlebury shot 3-15 on three-point attempts.

Pitt-Bradford had its stroke early. Justin Kusiappouh knocked down mid-range jumpers on three of four possessions to hang with Middlebury early.

Down 24-15 at the 4:47 mark, a layup from Mitchell, three-balls from Fry and Desmond Brogsdale then a trio of free throws form Fry made up an 11-2 run to tie the game at 26-26.

In the final minutes of the first half, three-pointers from Ugwunna Amadi and George Alston then a jumper from Reggie Rogers with 17 seconds left sent Pitt-Bradford into the half ahead.

Pitt-Bradford shot the ball well in the first half as the Panthers connected on 46.7 percent (14-30) attempts and 45.5 percent (5-11) three-pointers.

The Panther defense held Middlebury to 35.5 percent shooting (11-31) and 20 percent (3-15) on three-pointers in the first half.

But Middlebury found its form in the second half and shot 51.6 percent (16-31) to close out and gain the advantage.

In all, Mitchell was the top rebounder for the Panthers with six boards. 

Rogers dished six assists to lead the game.

As a team, Pitt-Bradford connected on 10-11 (90.9 percent) free throws while Middlebury shot 12-21 (57.1) from the line.

Up next, Pitt-Bradford will be idle for the holidays and return to competition on Jan. 2 as New York University comes to the KOA Arena for another non-conference contest.