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Men's basketball muscles past St. Joseph's, 65-50

John Squires '12 led the Bobcats in scoring and rebounding. (File photo)

STANDISH, Maine -- The Bates men's basketball team recorded a high-quality win against a tough opponent on the road on Wednesday, winning 65-50 at Saint Joseph’s College.

Bates junior forward John Squires (Swampscott, Mass.) paced the Bobcats (9-8) with 13 points and a season-high eight boards, while senior Brian Ellis (Braintree, Mass.) tallied 12 points and senior Alex Gallant (Bangor, Maine) chipped in with 10.

Monks (10-5) junior guard Chris Petzy led all players with 17 points in the setback. Zach O’Brien netted 16 points and Matthew Medeiros chipped in with 11 off a 3-5 effort from beyond the arc for the Monks. Nicholas Jobin led the hosts with four rebounds.

Bates raced out to a daunting lead in the early minutes, as a three-pointer from junior Kyle Philbrook (Auburn, Maine), the brother of SJC freshman James Philbrook, at the 16:47 mark put the Bobcats up by a 12-2 margin. The Monks never fully recovered from the early debt and shot just 25% (4-16) from three-point range and 39.6% (19-48) overall in the losing effort.

To make matters worse, St. Joe’s was out-rebounded by a whopping 37-22 margin and managed to collect only seven offensive caroms in the contest. Nearly half of the Bobcats’ boards were of the offensive variety, as the visitors hauled in 16 rebounds off their own missed shots.

Despite the early disadvantage, St. Joe’s climbed back into the game with a 9-4 run that cut the Bates lead to 16-11 after Petzy made a layup at the 11:28 mark. Petzy drained another shot to keep the deficit in single digits, 27-19, with 1:05 left in the opening half, but senior Thomas Deegan (Weymouth, Mass.) and Squires scored back to back buckets in the final minute to provide Bates with a 31-19 cushion heading into the break.

In the first half, St. Joe’s shot 34.8% from the floor and 11.1% from three-point distance and went 2-2 from the charity stripe. Bates shot 48.3% from the field and 33.3% from beyond the arc with a 2-3 effort from the FT line. Gallant led all first-half scorers with 10 points, while O’Brien paced the Monks with eight in the first 20 minutes.

The Bobcats managed to push their lead to a game-high 20 points, 44-24, with a 13-5 run that was capped by a Squires bucket at the 13:05 mark of the second stanza. Nearly three minutes later, Medeiros and junior Reid Christian (Pownal, Maine) traded trifectas in a matter of 40 seconds to make it a 49-31 contest.

From there, Saint Joseph’s mustered a 15-4 run that cut the SJC deficit to seven points, 53-46, after Terence Cullen converted a pair of free throws with 5:35 remaining. The Monks went 6-6 from the free throw line and Medeiros scored five points during the Monks surge.

Thoughts of a comeback were short-lived, however, as the Bobcats sealed the deal with a 12-4 run that closed out the contest. Any hopes of a miraculous triumph were dashed when Squires converted a traditional three-point play to put his team up by 15 with 1:25 left.

Saint Joseph’s shot 39.6% (19-48) overall, 25% (4-16) from three-point range and 100% (8-8) from the FT line in the loss. Bates countered by shooting 49.2% (29-59) from the field, 31.3% (5-16) from downtown and 66.7% (2-3) from the line.

Ellis's 12 points allowed him to pass former teammate Bryan Wholey '08 and take ninth place on Bates' all-time scoring list, with 1,248 points, two more than Wholey.

The Bobcats will play at Colby College in a NESCAC contest on Friday evening at 6 p.m.

BOX SCORE: Bates 65, St. Joseph's 50