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Bobcats edge Mules in men's basketball, 71-69

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

LEWISTON, Maine -- Senior Bryan Wholey (Marshfield, Mass.) scored 17 points and sophomore Chris Wilson (Brewer, Maine) added 13 with six assists to lead Bates College over rival Colby College 71-69 in a back-and-forth, typically intense non-league men's basketball game on Saturday at Alumni Gymnasium.

It was the eighth straight win for the host Bobcats, who moved to 8-3 this season.

Chris Wilson '10 nailed 3 of 5 three-pointers in the game.

Colby (9-5) received a game-high 20 points from Adam Choice, as well as 15 from Artie Cutrone and a double-double (11 points, 10 rebounds) from Michael Russell.

Colby outrebounded Bates 37-30, including a whopping 20 offensive boards. The Mules seized a 23-10 advantage in second-chance points. Colby also shot a blazing 20-23 (.870) from the free-throw line, compared to 9-14 (.643) for Bates.

The lead changed hands six times in the second half, seven times in the game, and there were 10 ties. The largest lead of the entire game was only eight points, held by the Mules only four minutes into the game at 12-4. Bates' largest lead of seven points came with 2:53 left in the first half (30-23).

A pair of free throws by Cutrone with 5:59 left in the game tied the game for the last time at 61. First-year Alex Gallant (Bangor, Maine) responded with his own back to back foul shots, and a pair of hoops by sophomore Jimmy O'Keefe (Lexington, Mass.) gave Bates an 8-3 mini-run that put them up 69-64 with 3:44 left.

Both teams managed just one field goal for the remainder of the game. Cutrone hit another pair of foul shots to narrow the gap to three, but first-year Brian Ellis muscled inside for a hoop to bump the lead back to five (71-66) with 2:28 left. They would be Bates' final points.

Jimmy O'Keefe '10 led the Bobcats in rebounding for the fourth straight game.

An offensive rebound and putback by Colby's Justin Sherman cut the lead back to three with 2:05 left, and the Mules closed within two when Gaudet hit 1 of 2 foul shots with 40 seconds left in the game.

O'Keefe's inside shot attempt caromed long into the hands of Choice with 10 seconds left in the game, and Colby chose to go for the game-winner rather than take a timeout. Under some defensive pressure from Wholey, Cutrone missed a three-pointer from the right wing, and the final buzzer sounded as the rebound bounced away.

Bates shot 51.9 percent from the floor for the game, compared to 36.7 percent for Colby.

Ellis reached double figures for the seventh time this season, with 10 points. O'Keefe led the Bobcats in rebounding for the fourth straight game, with eight, and Gallant had the best game of his young career with eight points and six boards.

Bates will begin its NESCAC conference schedule next weekend, beginning with a game at Trinity College on Friday at 7:30 p.m. Colby will play at Middlebury in its NESCAC opener Friday at 7 p.m.

BOX SCORE: Bates 71, Colby 69