|Jimmy O'Keefe submitted his best game this season, with 17 points and 8 rebounds.|
MIDDLEBURY, Vt. -- Ben Rudin scored a career-high 28 points to lead Middlebury College to a 73-65 overtime win over Bates College in the NESCAC opener for both teams Friday night, the visiting Bobcats' second OT setback this season.
Junior Chris Wilson (Brewer, Maine) led Bates with 18 points and six rebounds, while junior Jimmy O'Keefe (Lexington, Mass.) netted a season-high 17 with eight boards.
The Bobcats (8-6, 0-1 NESCAC) play at Williams tomorrow at 3 p.m.
The Panthers (13-2, 1-0 NESCAC) overcame 18-31 free throw shooting with a strong surge late in the game, forcing the contest into OT.
Middlebury led for most of the first half, until Bates went on a quick 7-0 spurt to take a 30-23 lead at the 1:02 mark behind a pair of hoops from O'Keefe. Middlebury's Ryan Sharry hit a pair of buckets late in the half, cutting the Bobcat's lead to 30-27 at the intermission.
Bates held a slim lead for much of the second half, with Middlebury coming on strong late. Trailing by five, Rudin sparked the team with a pair of hoops and an assist to Jamal Davis to give Middlebury its first lead of the half at 48-47.
Leading 54-52, O'Keefe of Bates converted 1-2 free throws to give the Panthers a chance with 30 seconds remaining. Rudin's shot missed the mark, but was rebounded by Sharry, who quickly found Kyle Dudley for the baseline three to tie the game with 22 seconds remaining. Bates was unable to get a shot off and was forced called a timeout with 2.5 seconds remaining. Following the timeout, Ben Thayer's 25-footer at the buzzer missed, forcing the contest into overtime.
Middlebury hit four hoops in OT, but more importantly connected on 10 of 12 free throws to come away with the win. Rudin found Andrew Locke for a 65-58 lead, before Tim Edwards drew a charge with 1:01 left to play. Jamal Davis sealed the win for the Panthers with a transition dunk to give the team a 70-63 advantage with just 37 seconds remaining, as Middlebury came away with the 73-65 win.
Rudin also grabbed six boards, dished out four assists and earned three steals to go along with his career-best 28 points. Locke scored 13 with six rebounds and four blocks while Sharry netted nine with nine boards.