BOSTON -- The Bates men's basketball team gutted out a 69-65 overtime win over non-conference opponent Emerson College on Monday night, with key contributions in the extra period from sophomore guard Luke Matarazzo.
Bates (3-2) received 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting from first-year guard Graham Safford (Hampden, Maine), to go with six rebounds and five assists. Junior Ed Bogdanovich (Portland, Maine) added 17 points on 8-of-9 shooting and eight rebounds, while Matarazzo (Shelton, Conn.) had 11 points, dished out a career-high nine assists, and scored five straight points in overtime to give the Bobcats the lead for good.
Nathan Firn scored 23 points and Bilali Kalilou-Mack added 21 for the host Lions (1-6).
Bates next plays at Fisher College's home gym in Lynn, Mass., on Wednesday at 7pm.
The Bobcats trailed 62-59 with 3:22 left in overtime, when Matarazzo started a decisive 8-0 run with a three-pointer from the top of the arc on an assist by Safford. On Emerson's next trip down the fl
oor, Matarazzo made a steal and drove for the layup to give Bates the lead for good at 64-62 with 2:43 left. At the 1:58 mark Matarazzo fed Bogdanovich for a layup to make it 66-62.
The Lions cut it to two, at 67-65, on a free throw by Bilali Kalilou-Mack, but Safford hit a jumper to make it a two-possession game at 69-65 with 12 seconds left.
Bates led 28-18 after a defense-dominated first half, and matched their highest lead of the game with their 35-23 edge with 17:58 left in regulation. But Emerson chipped away and assumed the lead with a 21-7 run to close it to make it 44-42 on a layup by Firn with 11:52 left. It was a dogfight the rest of the way, with neither team able to lead by more than three points until Safford followed a dunk by Bogdanovich with a free throw that made it 57-53 with 1:28 left. Firn closed out regulation time with a pair of free throws and a layup that tied the game at 57-57 with four seconds left. Brust missed a three-point attempt at the buzzer, sending Bates into overtime for the first time this season.
Senior John Squires (Swampscott, Mass.) contributed eight points and eight rebounds for the Bobcats, while senior Reid Christian (Pownal, Maine) also scored eihgt points.
SELMON NAMED MAINE ROOKIE OF THE WEEK: Bates first-year guard Billy Selmon (Atlanta, Ga.) won Rookie of the Week honors today from the Maine Men's Basketball Coaches and Writers Association. The award comes after Selmon scored a team-high 15 points in a 72-63 home win over Thomas College last Tuesday. Selmon shot 7-for-15 from the field and added four rebounds and three assists in the game. Bates has already had two out of three winners of the award this season, after Safford claimed it two weeks ago.... Bates retained its No. 4 ranking in this week's MMBCWA Top 5 poll.