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Men's hoops beats Becker for Naismith Classic title

Co-captain Chris Wilson earned tournament MVP honors, scoring 15 of his 19 points in the second half.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- The Bates College men's basketball team overcame a 32-24 halftime deficit to defeat Becker College 70-64 Saturday in the championship game of the Springfield College Holiday Inn/Naismith Classic.

Junior Chris Wilson (Brewer, Maine) scored a team-high 19 points, including 15 in the second half, to lead the Bobcats (6-4) to their third straight victory. Junior Sean Wirth (Barrington, R.I.) added 9 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocked shots, while sophomores Brian Ellis (Braintree, Mass.) and Alex Gallant (Bangor, Maine) chipped in with 9 points and 5 rebounds apiece. Wilson earned tournament MVP honors, and Wirth joined him on the all-tournament team.

Markus Wright had 22 points and 10 rebounds for Becker (6-3), while Travis Suber and Drew Schroll added 12 points each.

The Bobcats tied the game 52-52 with 5:36 remaining for the first time since 8-8 with the first of senior Scott Place's (Bridgewater, Mass.) three free throws after being fouled on a three-point shot attempt. Place hit all three free throws for a 54-52 lead, completing a comeback from as many as 9 points down (35-26 with 17:47 to play).

Becker fought back to retake the lead from Bates twice more, but a layup by Wirth at 2:33 tied the game for the fifth and final time, and Ellis hit a layup on a Wilson assist with 1:52 left for a 60-58 lead. Ellis hit another foul shot, and Wilson hit two more to make it 63-58, but Wright hit a putback to close the gap to 63-60 with 38 seconds left. With Becker forced to foul, Bates hit seven of eight free throws in the final half minute to ice the win, despite a final three-pointer by Wright with 2 seconds to play.

Bates next plays host to the University of New England on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

STATS: Bates 70, Becker 64