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Bobcat men score 50 in second half, top Ephs 78-71

Bryan Wholey '08 led the Bobcats in scoring for the ninth time this season.

LEWISTON, Maine -- Hot shooting in the second half propelled Bates College to a 78-71 victory in NESCAC men's basketball action Friday night at Alumni Gymnasium.

The Bobcats (15-5, 4-2 NESCAC) won their seventh straight game while the visiting Ephs (15-6, 2-4 NESCAC) lost their fourth straight.

Coming out of halftime with a 28-27 lead, Bates shot 15-26 from the floor (.577) and 16-18 at the free throw line (.889) to help salt away the win. The Bobcats hit 47.3% from the field overall in the game, while holding the Ephs to 36.6%.

Senior Bryan Wholey (Marshfield, Mass.) led four Bobcats in double figures with 20 points. First-year forward Brian Ellis (Braintree, Mass.) scored 17 on 7-10 shooting, and sophomore Chris Wilson (Brewer, Maine) added 16 points with seven assists. Sophomore Jimmy O'Keefe (Lexington, Mass.) chipped in 10 points. Sophomore Sean Wirth (Barrington, R.I.) led Bates with seven rebounds to go with six points.

Williams sophomore Joe Geohegan scored a team-high 17 points to go with a game-high 17 boards, including nine offensive rebounds. Junior Kevin Snyder scored 14 points, while senior Chris Rose scored 13 points on 5-21 shooting from the field. Blake Shultz and Matt Weisbrot added 11 and 10 points, respectively.

The game featured six ties and six lead changes, but the Bobcats were able to begin pulling away down the stretch. They hit five consecutive shots in an 11-2 spurt over a three-minute span midway through the second half, punctuated by a Wholey jumper that increased their lead to 56-45.

Williams quickly cut the lead down to five, as a Shultz three made it 56-51 with 7:20 to play. But a three from the left corner by Wholey, assisted by Wilson, bumped the lead to 63-51 at the five-minute mark, and Wilson banged home another three a minute later in answer to a Rose three, again deflating the Ephs' hopes for a comeback. Bates effectively wore the clock down in the final minutes, hitting 12 of 14 foul shots over the final 3:13.

Both teams took good care of the ball, with Williams coming out ahead 8 to 11 in the turnovers category. The Ephs held a slight advantage on the glass at 40-37.

Bates plays host to Middlebury College Saturday at 3 p.m., while Williams will play at Tufts University at the same time.

BOX SCORE: Bates 78, Williams 71