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Gallant propels men's basketball past feisty UMFK, 86-75

Alex Gallant torched the Bengals for 28 points on 12-of-15 shooting, while grabbing 11 rebounds. (File Photo)

LEWISTON, Maine -- Bates College senior Alex Gallant poured in a career-high 28 points and matched his career high with 11 rebounds to lead the Bobcats past UMaine-Fort Kent, 86-75, on Wednesday night at Alumni Gym.

Bates (7-1) notched its fifth straight win, while the visiting NAIA Division II Bengals dropped to 7-4.

Gallant (Bangor, Maine), whose previous career high was 24 points scored in February 2010 against Amherst, hit 12 of 15 shots to help carry the Bobcats, who were missing senior Brian Ellis (Braintree, Mass.) for the second straight game with an injury. Senior Nick Schmiemann (Weymouth, Mass.) added 16 points with five rebounds and a career-high six assists. Junior Thomas Deegan (Weymouth, Mass.) scored 11 points to go with six rebounds, and sophomore Mark Brust (Duxbury, Mass.) chipped in 10 points. Junior John Squires (Swampscott, Mass.) filled the stat sheet with eight points, seven rebounds, six assists and two steals.

Kevin Loiselle led five UMFK players in double figures with 17 points, while Manny Odugbela added 16. Emiliano Void scored 12 points to go with seven rebounds and six steals, and Jamar Thornhill and Pablo Llamas added 12 and 11 points, respectively.

If Bates was expecting an easy win, they were soon to be disappointed. The teams traded the lead nine times in the first half and the game was tied 10 other times. A steal and a dunk by Dockery was followed by a pair of free throws by Loiselle that gave UMFK its largest lead of the period, 28-24, with 6:13 left. Bates responded with three straight hoops by Gallant, and a three-pointer by junior Kyle Philbrook (Auburn, Maine) returned the lead to Bates at 33-31 with 4:29 to go. Gallant found Squires underneath for a layup, and he scored four more points before the period was over, as Bates took a 42-38 lead into halftime. Gallant had 16 points at the break on 7-9 shooting, but the rest of the team was 9-26 from the floor in the half. Loiselle had 12 points at the break for the Bengals, while Void contributed nine points and seven rebounds.

Bates came out of the locker room hot, and quickly expanded the lead into double digits, as a three by Schmiemann and two straight hoops by Squires made it 51-40 with 17:15 left in the game. Bates' lead ballooned to 15 when Schmiemann stole the ball and fed Brust for a layup and a 62-47 advantage with 13:18 left.

The Bobcats had a 66-51 lead with 11:48 to go, when UMFK exploded for 16-1 run, which culminated with a 12-point spurt over the span of less than two minutes: a three by Llamas, a three-point play by Void, and back-to-back three-pointers by Darryl Murff and Loiselle prompted a Bates timeout with 7:04 left in the game and the game suddenly tied at 67.

The Bobcats settled down and earned a six-point cushion with a jumper by Gallant, followed by two straight hoops by Deegan that made it 75-69 wiht 4:14 to go. UMFK failed to score on six straight possessions, and a three-pointer by Brust with 1:28 left put the Bobcats on top 81-71. Bates hit 5-of-6 free throws over the final minute and a half to ensure the win.

Bates faces Husson University tomorrow at 7 p.m. All of Bates' home games can be followed via Live Stats and Live Video Webcast. The Bengals next play at The New School in Boston on Saturday at 1 p.m.

BOX SCORE: Bates 86, UMFK 75