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Men's basketball wins defensive battle with Southern Maine, 55-46

Tom Coyne's game-high 16 points helped Bates defeat Southern Maine 55-46 on Nov. 21, 2017. (File photo by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College) 

GORHAM, Maine -- Sophomore Tom Coyne scored a game-high 16 points and junior Nick Lynch chipped in a career-high 10 to lead the Bates men's basketball team past Southern Maine by a score of 55-46 Tuesday night. 

Tuesday marks the fewest points Bates (2-1) has scored in a win since the Bobcats beat Babson 54-51 on Nov. 16, 2014. 

Bates held Southern Maine (1-3) to just 29.5% shooting from the field. Donne Agossou scored nine points off the bench to pace the Huskies. The Bobcats won despite only shooting 3-21 from three-point range. 

The Bobcats led most of the game but the Huskies made it interesting when Agossou scored on a layup with 4:23 to go in the game to cut the Bates lead to 47-45. First-year James Mortimer (Sudbury, Mass.) answered with a layup of his own to extend the Bobcat advantage to 49-45 with 3:26 left. Mortimer scored seven points in 22 minutes off the bench, the most points he's scored in a game so far in his young career. 

Junior Eli Frater (Brooklyn, N.Y.) followed with a huge three-pointer to put the Bobcats up 52-45 with 2:45 remaining. Frater scored five points on 2-4 shooting to go along with three rebounds in 15 minutes off the bench. Sophomore Jeff Spellman (Boston, Mass.) picked up an assist on the play. Despite struggling from the field (3-13), Spellman turned in a solid performance with six points, nine rebounds and a game-high five assists. Fellow sophomore Nick Gilpin (Hampden, Maine) hit three free throws down the stretch to help Bates hold on to its lead. Gilpin pulled down eight rebounds and dished out three assists on the evening.

The Bobcats trailed 10-9 with 14:24 left in the first half when Coyne (Falmouth, Maine) converted an old fashioned three-point play to put Bates ahead for good. Coyne only shot 1-7 from deep but added nine rebounds, an assist and two steals to go along with his 16 points. 

The Bobcats led 15-13 with 13:20 to go in the first. That's when Mortimer went on a personal 5-0 run to extend the lead to 20-13 with 9:01 to go. The Huskies trimmed the Bates lead to 22-19 before Spellman and Coyne made layups to make the score 26-19 in favor of Bates. The teams traded buckets to end the first half. The Bobcats led 28-23 at halftime.

Lynch (Westford, Mass.) made a layup and hit a jumper to open the second half, extending the lead to nine. The sophomore big man turned in an efficient performance, hitting 5-10 shots, pulling down five rebounds and blocking two shots in the win. 

The Bobcats opened up their largest lead of the game when Coyne made a layup with 14:49 left in the game, making the score 38-26 in favor of Bates. Coyne scored 11 of his game-high 16 points in the second half. The Huskies rallied down the stretch but came up short with the Bobcats prevailing for the second straight season over their in-state foe. 

Bates is back in action Sunday for its home opener when the Bobcats host the University of New England at 5:00 p.m.