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Men's hoops team shocks, routs Amherst, 76-47

Marshall Hatch propelled Bates to a 38-26 halftime lead with three 3-pointers and 13 points in the first half.

LEWISTON, Maine -- Junior Alex Gallant (Bangor, Maine) scored 18 of his game- and career-high 24 points in the second half, and senior Marshall Hatch (Chicago, Ill.) scored 13 of his career-high 19 points in the first half, as the Bates College men's basketball team shocked Amherst College 76-47 on Friday night in Alumni Gymnasium, for the Bobcats' first win over the Lord Jeffs since the 1987-88 season. It is the most lopsided defeat for Amherst, which has made it to 10 straight NCAA tournaments, since losing 74-45 to Williams in January 2002.

Bates moves to 11-10 overall and 3-4 in NESCAC play, while Amherst falls to 14-6 overall and 3-3 in the NESCAC.

Amherst was held to 30.4 percent shooting from the field in the game, including a 7-for-28 effort in the second half, as Bates continued to build its lead. Amherst totaled only three assists in the game. Bates, conversely, shot over 50 percent in both halves, finishing the game at a .542 clip (26-48), including a 5-for-7 team effort behind the arc, and had 19 team assists.

Hatch shot 7-for-9 from the field and hit all five of his shots from three-point territory, and also had a team-high four assists and three steals. Gallant, meanwhile, went to work in the second half, canning 7 of 11 shots with an array of midrange jumpers and inside hoops, and also made three steals. First-year Mark Brust (Duxbury, Mass.) added eight points and eight rebounds. Bates' leading scorer, junior Brian Ellis (Braintree, Mass.), attempted only one shot from the field, finishing with four points.

Steven Wheeler led Amherst with 10 points. Taylor Barrise had nine points, 10 rebounds and three steals, and Jeff Holmes added eight points and 10 rebounds.

Bates ran out to a 38-26 lead at the half, fueled by Hatch's 13 points on 5-7 shooting, 3-3 behind the arc. The Bobcats made a robust 14 of their 25 shots in the half while holding the Lord Jeffs to a 10-28 effort (.357). The Bobcats opened the game with an 11-2 run, when Hatch nailed a three to open the game, followed by four points by junior Nick Schmiemann (Weymouth, Mass.) and a pair of buckets by Brust.

Amherst cut it to four on three occasions, the last being at 19-15 with 10:10 to go on David Waller's jumper. A trademark 25-foot three-pointer by Hatch, however, ignited a 10-2 run by Bates in which the senior guard added a two-point jumper and another three that made it 29-17 with 7:45 to go in the period. Another jumper by Hatch stretched the lead to 33-19 at the 5:23 mark. Gallant pushed it to 14 again with a jumper at 35-21 with 2:11 to go, then followed with a three-point play that made it 38-21 with 1:32 to go. Amherst closed out the period with five unanswered points on a three by Taylor Barrise and a jumper by Allen Williamson, allowing Amherst to narrow the gap to 38-26 at the break.

Amherst outscored Bates 11-6 over the first six minutes of the second half, cutting the margin to seven (44-37) with 14:10 to go when Wheeler hit the second of two free throws. Hatch then launched his first shot attempt of the half, swishing a three at the 13:19 mark to start Bates on a steady climb to a massive lead.

Bates began to not only protect the lead but expand it, as Amherst went ice cold and the Bobcats conducted a clinic of clock-eating possessions that ended with a bucket near the end of the shot clock. Hatch nailed another three to make it 50-37, and Gallant scored four straight points to make it 54-37 before Amherst finally answered with a putback by Peter Kaasila at the 10:58 mark. Amherst's offense hit only one of 16 field goal attempts over a span stretching from the 15:48 mark until only 4:16 remained, and Allen Williamson's layup closed the gap to 67-43. Bates finished out the game on a 32-10 run, capped by a pair of Thomas Deegan (Weymouth, Mass.) foul shots with 11 seconds remaining, which gave Bates' its final, largest lead of the game at 76-47.

Bates defeated Amherst 80-74 in Lewiston on Jan. 23, 1988, which at the time made Bates' all-time record against the Lord Jeffs 1-12.

Bates hosts Trinity tomorrow at 4 p.m. If you can't make it to Alumni Gym for all the action, you can still follow the game via Live Webcast and Live Stats, both free of charge.

STATS: Bates 76, Amherst 47