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Men's basketball team edged by Husson, 68-66

John Squires '12 scored a career-high 16 points on 7-of-10 shooting for Bates. (File Photo)

LEWISTON, Maine -- Jay Uhrin hit the go-ahead jumper with 32 seconds left in regulation, as Husson University won its fifth straight game, and its first against Bates since the teams resumed playing each other annually in 2004, defeating the Bobcats 68-66 Thursday in Alumni Gym.

Uhrin's 17-foot jump shot from the left wing put the Eagles (6-1) ahead 67-66. Bates junior Kyle Philbrook (Auburn, Maine) tried to take the lead back with a three-point attempt with 15 seconds left. The shot rimmed out, but senior Thomas Deegan (Weymouth, Mass.) tracked down the offensive rebound. Senior Nick Schmiemann (Weymouth, Mass.) went up with a turnaround attempt from the left block, but the ball was knocked away and collected by Josh Jones, who was fouled by Schmiemann. Jones hit one of two foul shots with 6.4 seconds left for a 68-66 lead, and Husson called timeout. Bates inbounded the ball under its own basket, and senior Alex Gallant (Bangor, Maine) raced up the floor with the ball to launch a three-point attempt at the buzzer that bounced off the back rim and out, sealing the win for Husson.

Jones and Uhrin scored 18 points apiece to lead the Eagles, while Daeshawn McMorrin chipped in with 10 points. Jones, Eric Modica and Luis Media all tied for the team lead in both rebounds (7) and assists (3).

Bates (7-2), playing in its third game in as many nights, and playing without two of its top three scorers in senior Brian Ellis (Braintree, Mass.) and sophomore Mark Brust (Duxbury, Mass.) due to injury, nonetheless met Husson in effort and performance throughout the night. Bates was held to its lowest team field goal percentage of the season (25-62, .403), while Husson was nearly the same at .415 (27-65). Bates owned a small edge on the boards, 40-38, and both teams turned the ball over 15 times.

Gallant scored a game-high 19 points for Bates, junior John Squires (Swampscott, Mass.) added a career-high 16 points, and Schmiemann added 13 points. Deegan scored 11 points, dished out three assists and grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds for his first career double-double. Philbrook had a game-high four assists.

Bates started out the game with the hot hand, building an early 10-2 lead with four points apiece by Gallant and Schiemann. Husson put together a 9-2 run midway through the half and took its first lead at 19-18 on a Uhrin free throw following a technical foul called on Bates' bench. A three-pointer by Husson junior Brad Libby gave the Eagles a 28-24 lead with 2:47 left in the period, but Bates answered with six straight points. McMorrin's putback of a Jones miss sent the teams into halftime with a tie score, 30-30.

The score would be tied eight more times, and would change hands seven more times, in the second half, with neither team able to build a lead of more than five points. Husson came back from a 62-57 deficit with 4:42 left with a late 8-0 run, offsetting four straight scoreless possessions by the Bobcats with a pair of free throws by Jones, a layup by Uhrin, a jumper by Jones and a layup by Uhrin, assisted by Jones, which put the Eagles on top 65-62 with 2:09 remaining. Gallant ended the run with an unassisted layup. Squires then made a steal, was fouled, and hit one of two foul shots to tie the game for the 11th time at 65-65, with 1:33 left.

Deegan made another steal for Bates and was fouled. He missed his first free throw and made the second for a 66-65 lead with 1:06 left. Husson called timeout 24 seconds into the shot clock, with 42 seconds left in the game, and Uhrin's jumper from the wing gave Husson the final lead with 32 ticks remaining.

Bates, ranked first in this week's Maine Men's Basketball Coaches and Writers Association Top 5 poll, is off until New Year's Day, when the Bobcats will face Rutgers-Newark at 7:30 p.m. at Springfield College's Naismith Classic.

BOX SCORE: Husson 68, Bates 66