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No. 20 Amherst holds off men's hoops, 71-66

Chris Wilson '10 had the scoring touch, with 24 points on 8-of-12 shooting.

LEWISTON, Maine -- Brian Baskauskas scored 28 points and the No. 20 nationally ranked Amherst College men's basketball team took advantage of 22 offensive rebounds in holding off Bates College 71-66 in a NESCAC matchup Friday night at Alumni Gymnasium.

The game will be shown on tape delay tomorrow night at 8:30 on WPXT-TV, Maine's CW network affiliate, via a YNETV broadcast.

The Lord Jeffs (17-4, 5-1 NESCAC) snapped their first two-game losing skid since the 2005-06 season, while Bates dropped to 11-10 overall and 2-5 in conference play.

Junior Chris Wilson (Brewer, Maine) led the Bobcats with a career-high 24 points on 8-of-12 shooting, including 4-of-5 from behind the arc, to go with a game-high 7 assists. Junior Jimmy O'Keefe (Lexington, Mass.) added 12 points.

Amherst outrebounded Bates 43-35, with over half of its rebounds coming off the offensive glass, leading to an 18-6 edge in second-chance points. Jeff Holmes grabbed a team-high 9 boards, 6 of them offensive. Taylor Barrise scored 11 points with 7 rebounds off the bench for the Lord Jeffs.

The Bobcats outshot the Lord Jeffs 49.0 percent to 39.7 from the floor, while making 5 of 10 three-point attempts to Amherst's 6-of-20 effort.

Amherst took a 40-34 lead into halftime and extended it to 44-34 early in the second half, but Bates cut it the margin to as low as one point on four different occasions in the period, and tied the game at 59-59 with 4:53 left in the game on a pair of free throws by Wilson, though the Bobcats never retook the lead. Their last advantage of the game came at 25-24 with 8:10 remaining in the first half, in a period with seven ties and six lead changes.

Amherst continually turned to Baskauskas when the Bobcats threatened, and the all-conference senior delivered consistently. He scored 14 points in each period, hitting 10 of 18 shots overall while grabbing 7 rebounds.

After Wilson's free throws tied the game at 59, Baskauskas scored back-to-back layups, then followed a layup by Marcus Bradley with a pair of foul shots to complete an 8-0 run that gave Amherst a 67-59 lead with 3:04 left in the game. Bates freshman John Squires (Swampscott, Mass.) answered with a hoop underneath on a feed from senior Scott Place (Bridgewater, Mass.), but he missed the chance for the three-point play when he missed his foul shot.

Place cut the lead to five with a layup on a feed by senior Ben Thayer (Gorham, Maine), who grabbed a team-high 8 rebounds, with 34 seconds left, but after three foul shots by the Lord Jeffs, Bates was unable to close the gap again until Wilson hit a deep three with two seconds left in the game.

Bates will play host to Trinity College on Saturday at 3 p.m.

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