ANNVILLE, Pa. – In its season opener, the Ursinus College men's basketball team gave fourth-ranked Middlebury all it could handle before the Panthers (1-0) took a 78-73 decision over the Bears (0-1) in the opener of the 20th annual Rinso Marquette Tournament hosted by Lebanon Valley.
Ursinus was led by senior forward Kevin Janowski (New Egypt, N.J./New Egypt) who had a game-high 19 points. Senior forward Jon Ward (Allentown, Pa./Parkland) scored 19 with junior guard Ryan Adams (White Plains, N.Y./The Hun School) scoring 12.
The Panthers were led by 13 points each from senior guard Nolan Thompson (Akron, Ohio) and sophomore forward Hunter Merryman (San Marino, Calif.), while junior guard Joey Kizel (Short Hills, N.J.) had 12.
Middlebury got ten points each from senior forward Peter Lynch and senior guard Jake Wolfin.
Middlebury survived two nine-point rallies by Ursinus, as the Panthers took the lead for good with a three-pointer by Merryman with 8:37. Leading 65-58 with 6:37 left in the game, the Panthers saw the Bears rally all the way to within one at 69-68 on a pair of foul shots by Ward.
However, a three-pointer by Thompson with 2:57 left put the Panthers up four at 72-68 and they held on. Ursinus would get within two points but could not get any closer.
In the first half, Ursinus took an early 6-0 lead, and took their biggest lead of the game at 9-2 on a three-pointer by senior guard Matt Donahue (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Trinity) at the 15:45 mark. Middlebury would respond back with a 13-4 scoring jaunt, taking its first lead at 15-13 on a jumper by Bulluck.
Ursinus grabbed the lead back, then went up by three at 20-17 on a jumper by junior guard Pat Vasturia (Medford, N.J./Bishop Eustace) with 8:43 left. Leading 22-19, the Bears saw the Panthers rally to go up three at 26-23 on a basket by Wolfin.
Trailing 35-33, Middlebury would close the half by scoring the final six points capped by a basket from Matt Daley for a 39-35 intermission lead.
Middlebury had a 21-14 lead on the board after the first 20 minutes, including an 8-3 edge on offensive rebounds.
In the second half, the Panther continued their scoring run and went up by as much as nine at 48-39 on a three-pointer by Thompson.
However, Ursinus rally back again as the Bears went on an 11-2 run to go up 51-50 on a three-pointer by Adams with 12:38 left.
In a game that featured 13 lead changes, both squads would trade one-point ledas, before Ursinus went up by two at 58-56 on a basket by Ward with 10:26 left. Following a Middlebury timeout, the Panthers scored the next nine points and took the lead for good.
The Panthers overcame cold shooting at the foul line, going just 7-for-14 in the game after a 1-for-5 performance in the first half. The Panthers had a 38-32 edge on the glass, with a commanding 14-8 lead on the offensive end. Thompson finished with six boards for Middlebury, with Ward grabbing seven for Ursinus.