Gilpin's late bucket propels men's basketball to 77-75 win at Tufts

Sophomore Nick Gilpin scored with 13 seconds left to propel the Bates men's basketball team to a 77-75 win at Tufts on Saturday, January 20, 2018. (File photo by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

MEDFORD, Mass. -- Sophomore Nick Gilpin made a layup with the shot clock winding down and 13 seconds remaining in regulation to give the Bates men's basketball team a 77-75 win over Tufts Saturday afternoon. 

Bates (9-9, 2-3 NESCAC) defeated Tufts (12-5, 3-2 NESCAC) for the second straight year and for the first time in Medford since the NESCAC quarterfinals in 2012. 

The Jumbos led by six with 4:02 left in the contest. Sophomore Tom Coyne (Falmouth, Maine) cut the deficit in half with a three-pointer and then tied the contest at 73 with another three with 2:27 remaining. Luke Rogers put Tufts up two with a layup but the Bobcats answered when Gilpin (Hampden, Maine) made a layup with 1:58 left for his first score of the afternoon. 

With 48 seconds to go, junior Nick Lynch (Westford, Mass.) made a huge steal to set up the game-winning bucket. Bates called timeout after they crossed the half court line. Out of the timeout, Gilpin drove straight down the line and scored the eventual game-winning basket. KJ Garrett had one last chance for the Jumbos but he missed a jumper and Bates secured the rebound to clinch the win. 

Vincent Pace led Tufts with a game-high 24 points, eight rebounds and four assists. Meanwhile sophomore Jeff Spellman (Boston, Mass.) paced the Bobcats with 18 points, three rebounds and four assists on 9-15 shooting. Lynch and Coyne chipped in 12 points apiece, with Lynch grabbing a team-high eight rebounds. Coyne drained four threes in five attempts in the game. First-year James Mortimer (Sudbury, Mass.) also finished in double figures with 10 points on 4-9 shooting.

The Bobcats led by four points at halftime after Spellman poured in 14 points in the first half alone. Bates opened up a 17-10 lead with 14:46 left in the first half when senior captain Shawn Strickland (Middletown, Conn.) drained a three. Their biggest lead of the contest came with 12:54 left in the first half when Spellman hit a three to push the lead to 21-13. The Jumbos immediately went on a 6-0 run to cut the Bates lead to two. 

The Bobcats found themselves down 33-30 with 5:57 left in the first half after the Jumbos' Eric Savage hit a jumper. But Coyne answered with a three to even the score at 33 with 5:28 left in the half. The teams traded buckets until Spellman went on a personal 4-0 run to end the half, putting Bates up 41-37 at the intermission. 

Tufts appeared to take command of the game midway through the second half, taking an eight-point lead on an Everett Dayton jump shot with 7:56 left in regulation.

Bates refused to back down. Sophomore Kody Greenhalgh (Warwick, R.I.) hit a pair of huge threes to keep the Bobcats within striking distance. His second three trimmed the Jumbos' lead to 66-62 with 6:13 to go in the contest. Greenhalgh finished the afternoon with nine points on 3-6 shooting. 

Pace's old fashioned three-point play with 4:02 left pushed the Tufts lead to six before the Bobcats rallied yet again.

Three-point shooting turned out to be the big difference in the game. The Bobcats made 11-26 threes (42.3%) while the Jumbos only made 1-17 from outside. The Bobcats shot 50% from the field overall on the afternoon. 

The win snaps a three-game losing streak for the Bobcats. Bates is back in action on Friday, January 26 when the Bobcats head to Middletown, Conn. to take on Wesleyan at 7:00 p.m.