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Men's basketball team rolls over Bowdoin, 86-65

Bates captains Brian Ellis (left) and Nick Schmiemann (right) exult after Bowdoin called timeout with 8:45 to play and Bates had surged to a 66-52 lead.
John Squires had Bates' second dunk of the second half for an 82-61 lead late in the game.

LEWISTON, Maine -- The Bates College men's basketball team routed rival Bowdoin College 86-65 on Saturday, shooting better than 56 percent in each half of the teams' non-conference matchup at Alumni Gymnasium.

It was Bates' most lopsided win over its nearby rival since an 88-62 decision on Dec. 6, 2005. Bowdoin (3-2) lost its second straight game, while Bates (5-1) won its third straight.

Sophomore Mark Brust (Duxbury, Mass.) scored 21 points, senior Brian Ellis (Braintree, Mass.) tallied 20 and senior Alex Gallant (Bangor, Maine) added 18 for the Bobcats -- the three players combined to score 68.6 percent of Bates' points on 27-for-42 (.643) shooting from the field.

Bates hit 17-of-30 shots in the first half (.567) and 20-for-34 (.588) in the second half. The Bobcats are hitting field goal attempts at a .531 clip overall this season, while limiting opponents to a .404 field-goal percentage.

Will Hanley led the Polar Bears with 21 points and 10 rebounds, while Ryan O'Connell and Justin Nowell chipped in with 12 and 11 points, respectively.

Bowdoin had its last lead at 10-9, and Randy DeFeo's layup with 6:25 left in the first period had the Polar Bears right in the game, down 27-21. Gallant hit a putback, and junior Thomas Deegan (Weymouth, Mass.) followed that with a three-pointer from the left wing. Gallant then converted a layup on a feed from first-year Luke Matarazzo (Shelton, Conn.), then canned a pair of free throws for nine unanswered points by Bates and a 36-21 lead with 3:38 left. The teams went into halftime with Bates ahead 41-27, thanks to 10 points by Gallant and 11 by Brust. DeFeo led Bowdoin with seven points in the period, while Hanley had six.

Mark Brust scored a season-high 21 points, hitting 9 of 13 shots including 3 of 4 behind the arc.

Bowdoin chipped its way back into the game early in the second half, quickly cutting the Bates lead to six with a three-point play by Nowell, followed by a three and a layup by O'Connell that made it 43-37 Bates with 17:54 left to play.

That was as close as Bowdoin would come the rest of the way, however, as Gallant responded with a layup on a high-post feed by Ellis, followed by a pull-up three by Brust and a layup by Ellis that bumped the lead back to 48-37.

Hanley hit two straight buckets for the Polar Bears midway through the second period to close it back to nine at 61-52. Brust again answered for the Bobcats, creating a layup for himself then hitting a three on an assist by Ellis. Hanley cut the lead down to 11 (66-55), but Brust fed Gallant for a layup, and on Bowdoin's next time down the floor, senior Nick Schmiemann (Weymouth, Mass.) stole away a pass by O'Connell, then found Ellis streaking down the floor for a fast-break dunk. The dunk represented the first two of eight unanswered points scored by Ellis, which put Bates comfortably ahead at 76-57 with 5:53 left in the game. Bates outscored Bowdoin 10-4 over the final four minutes for an 86-65 final.

Bates junior center Ryan Weston (Bangor, Maine) provided one of the game's many highlights with 12:35 left, hitting the floor to get an offensive rebound, then finding a wide-open Deegan for an easy layup with a no-look, over-the-shoulder pass.

Bates combined for 25 assists in the game, getting five apiece from junior Kyle Philbrook (Auburn, Maine), Ellis and Matarazzo. Gallant and Ellis tied for the team lead with eight rebounds apiece.

Matt Mathias dished out six of Bowdoin's 11 assists in the game. The Polar Bears were limited to 38.8% shooting in the game and outrebounded 40-31.

Ellis increased his career point total to 1,102, moving past Larry Quimby '52 (1,089) and Erik Johnson '90 (1,101) and into 23rd place on the team's all-time list. 

Bates has home games on three consecutive days next week: Tuesday against UMaine-Farmington (7 p.m.), Wednesday against UMaine-Fort Kent (5:30 p.m.) and Thursday against Husson (7 p.m.). All three games can be followed via Live Stats and Live Video Webcast.

Bates will play at Bowdoin on Jan. 22 in the teams' NESCAC conference game.

BOX SCORE: Bates 86, Bowdoin 65

The Bobcat faithful were in fine, full-throated form inside a packed Alumni Gymnasium.