Salem State edges men's basketball 83-81 in wild finish

Tom Coyne led Bates with 21 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists in an 83-81 loss to Salem State on January 15, 2018. (File photo by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

LEWISTON, Maine -- Salem State guard Rayshaw Matthews made a steal with seven seconds left and fed Tyreik McCauley for a layup with 3.8 seconds remaining, as the Vikings completed a wild 83-81 comeback victory over the Bates men's basketball team Monday night in Alumni Gymnasium.

Salem State (13-3) trailed Bates (8-9) 81-76 with one minute remaining in the game, after Bates sophomore Nick Gilpin (Hampden, Maine) had made a jumper and set up first-year James Mortimer (Sudbury, Mass.) for a layup. Salem State's Shaquan Murray missed a 3-pointer in the corner but rebounded his own miss and made a layup to narrow the lead to 81-78.

After a Bates turnover with 42 seconds left, Jacob Lindland made a contested rainbow 3-pointer from the top of the arc, tying the game at 81-81 with 36 seconds left in the game.

With a four-second difference between the game and shot clocks, Bates cleared out for sophomore Jeff Spellman (Boston, Mass.) in isolation on the left wing, but Matthews poked the ball away as Spellman made his move toward the basket. Matthews pounced on the ball and surged up the floor before dishing off to McCauley for the go-ahead layup.

Bates, left without timeouts, inbounded the ball from the far baseline and could only settle for a halfcourt heave at the buzzer by Spellman.

The Bobcats were in control for most of the game after building a 35-20 lead on senior Justin Zukowski's (Portland, Maine) second 3-pointer of the first half, made with 6:35 to go. Bates led 44-31 with 1:40 left in the half before the Vikings finished the period on a 9-2 run, getting layups from Lindland, Temitope Bailey and Murray, then a buzzer-beating three by Sean Bryan to narrow the gap to 46-40 at the half. Bates made 10-of-15 3-pointers (.667) and outrebounded Salem State 26-17 in the opening 20 minutes, but the visitors were only six points down.

Coyne played a brilliant first half, totaling 10 points, six rebounds and six assists in 15 minutes from off the bench. The sophomore finished the game with 21 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists.

Salem State scored six straight points to whittle an eight-point lead to 53-51 with 14:39 left in the game. Coyne responded with a 3-pointer, followed by a three-point play, then another three for a 62-53 Bates lead. Junior Eli Frater's (Brooklyn, N.Y.) layup in transition gave Bates a double-digit lead again at 64-53, completing a 13-0 Bobcat run.

Back-to-back baskets by Bates junior Nick Lynch (Westford, Mass.) countered five straight points by Lindland to make it 68-58 in Bates' favor with 7:27 to go, but Salem State hacked nine points off of the lead over the next five minutes, outscoring Bates 15-6 with five points by Murray and four by McCauley.

Bates senior Shawn Strickland (Middletown, Conn.) drained his second three of the half with 2:32 left to make it a four-point game, but McCauley made a putback and was fouled on the play. He hit the free throw to close the gap to 77-76 with 1:58 left.

McCauley led Salem State with 20 points and eight rebounds and Murray added 19 points. Both players shot 8-of-14 from the field. Lindland added 12 points and Drew Healy totaled nine points, eight rebounds and four blocks. Sean Bryan came up with nine points, seven boards and five assists.

Mortimer scored 12 points, Spellman added nine points, five rebounds and four assists, and Lynch grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds for Bates.

The Bobcats play their next four games on the road, beginning with a NESCAC game at Tufts on Saturday at 2pm.