|Jimmy O'Keefe '10 provided a big lift for the Bobcats off the bench.|
SCHENECTADY, N.Y. -- The No. 15 nationally-ranked Bates College men's basketball team shot 51.7 percent from the floor, including 56.4 percent in the first half, en route to a 73-56 victory over Elms College in the opening game of the Sig Makofski Invitational at Union College.
The Bobcats raised their record to 9-0, setting a school mark for their best start to a season. The Blazers fell to 4-5. Bates will play host Union, an 82-74 winner over Mount St. Vincent in the late game, for the tournament championship Saturday at 3 p.m.
Senior forward Rob Stockwell (Temple, N.H.) had 19 points and 14 rebounds for his sixth double-double of the season.
Junior forward Renato Lindmets (Springfield, Mass.) led Elms (4-5) with a game high 21 points, and had six rebounds, while Randy Hite (Hartford, Conn.) had a team best eight boards. John Ancrum (Harlem, N.Y.) had eight points for the Blazers. Elms shot 40% for the night.
Three other players scored in double figures for Bates, including a season-best 12-point, eight-rebound effort from first-year forward Jimmy O'Keefe (Lexington, Mass.). Junior Pat Halloran (Plymouth, N.H.) and Bryan Wholey (Marshfield, Mass.) added 11 and 10 points apiece.
Bates had a 42-27 lead at the half. A pair of free throws by Lindmets Halloran pulled Elms to within seven, 54-47, with 11:55 to play, the closest the Blazers would get in the second half. Halloran answered with a three-pointer to build the lead back to 10. Wholey's layup with 47 seconds remaining provided the final, the largest lead for the Bobcats in the game.
Bates had a 16-8 advantage in second chance points, and the Bobcats' bench outscored Elms' bench, 32-15. Bates outrebounded Elms by a 40-31 margin.