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Men's basketball rolls past Castleton in Naismith Classic

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- The Bates College men's basketball team rolled past Castleton State College Friday night in the second game of the Holiday Inn/Naismith Classic at the James Naismith Court at Springfield College's Blake Arena.

With the victory, Bates is now 5-4, while Castleton State falls to 0-8. Bates will now play Becker College (6-2) in the championship game at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, while Castleton State will play host Springfield (6-4) in the consolation game at 3 p.m.

For the Bobcats, 16 players suited up for the contest, and 14 of them scored. Only one player played more than 17 minutes, and that was junior guard Chris Wilson (Brewer, Maine), who played 25 minutes. Three Bates players scored in double figures: first-year forward John Squires (Swampscott, Mass.) with 12, junior forward Jimmy O'Keefe (Lexington, Mass.) and junior forward Sean Wirth (Barrington, R.I.) with 10 apiece. Nine Bobcat players corralled four rebounds or more, led by Wirth with eight.

For the Spartans of Castleton State, sophomore guard Seth Harrington (No. Bennington, Vt.) led all scorers with 16 points. Senior guard Kevin Cayea (Red Hook, N.Y.) tallied 15. Leading rebounders with six each for the Spartans were freshman forward Keith Schneider (Benson, Vt.) and sophomore forward Nathaniel Hansen (Bradford, N.H.).

Bates led this contest from start to finish, just as Becker did in the tournament's first game. Senior guard Scott Place (Bridgewater, Mass.) hit a 3-pointer 41 seconds into the game, and the Bobcats never looked back, building leads of 5-0 at the start and 42-23 at the half. The 19-point lead was Bates' largest in that first half. When O'Keefe hit a jumper with 11:57 remaining in the game, Bates led 60-29. When first-year swingman Reid Christian (Pownal, Maine) hit a 3-pointer with 4:03 left, Bates had its largest lead of the game (44 points) at 86-42.

Bates out-rebounded Castleton State, 63-33, in the game's most telling team statistic.

With the win over Springfield, Becker of Leicester, Mass. is now 6-2.

STATS: Bates 90, Castleton State 50