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No. 12 Bates men show grit in loss to No. 2 Lord Jeffs

Rob Stockwell '07 (left) led the Bobcats in scoring for the eighth time this season, with 20 points.

LEWISTON, Maine -- Senior Tim McLaughlin (Chatham, N.J.) led five players in double figures with 19 points, hitting 5-of-9 three pointers, as the No. 2 Amherst College men's basketball team defeated No. 12 Bates College 79-64 in a NESCAC matchup on Saturday.

The Lord Jeffs (14-0, 2-0 NESCAC) shot 51.8 percent from the floor, including 44.4 percent behind the arc, and 81.3 percent from the line to foil the upset bid by the Bobcats (11-2, 0-2). Bates shot 33.3 percent from the floor, including 24.0 percent behind the arc, and 66.7 percent on foul shots.

Senior Rob Stockwell (Temple, N.H.) had a game-high 20 points and eight rebounds to lead Bates, which outrebounded Amherst 44-29, including a 24-8 edge on the offensive boards. First-years Chris Wilson (Brewer, Maine) and Jimmy O'Keefe (Lexington, Mass.) added 10 points apiece. Senior Zak Ray (Bangor, Maine) had eight points, six assists and six rebounds.

Senior Dan Wheeler (Bloomington, Minn.) scored 14 points for Amherst, sophomore Brian Baskauskas (Palo Alto, Calif.) had 16 and junior Kevin Hopkins (Greenfield Center, N.Y.) added 13 and a team-high six rebounds. Junior Andrew Olson (San Diego, Calif.) had 11 points and seven assists.

As evidenced by their big advantage on the boards, the Bobcats played well except for one thing: they had a hard time removing the lid off the rim that seemed to have stayed on from the second half of their loss to Trinity the night before.

Zak Ray '07 pushes the ball upcourt, with Damon McGinn '07 trailing.

Bates took its lone lead of the game at 10-9 when Stockwell drained a three with 13:56 to play in the first half. But Amherst hit five of its next six shots and embarked on a 17-3 run, creating a 13-point edge at 26-13 with 7:06 left in the period.

Bates outscored Amherst 20-12 over the remainder of the half to whittle the deficit to as little as four (35-31). But Baskauskas hit a three and McLaughlin nailed two more in the last two minutes of the period. O'Keefe made a buzzer-beating layup on a Ray assist to cut the Amherst lead to 41-33 at halftime.

Stockwell opened the second half with a layup to cut the lead to six, but Amherst answered with a 14-6 run, prompting a Bates timeout with the Bobcats behind 55-41 with 14:03 to play. Bates struggled the rest of the way to find the bottom of the net and couldn't reduce the lead back to single digits. Bates fought hard on every possession, as evidenced by the numerous trips down the floor in which the Bobcats grabbed more than one offensive rebound without converting a hoop. In one sequence as the clock dwindled under three minutes, three offensive boards yielded no points. (A first-half possession included five offensive boards and no score for Bates).

The Bobcats next play at St. Joseph's College of Maine on Tuesday at 7 p.m. They'll host Husson College Thursday night at 7.

STATS: Amherst 79, Bates 64