Bates men’s basketball faced a tough road trip this past weekend, traveling to face NESCAC opponents Colby and Bowdoin on Friday and Saturday. The Bobcats convincingly defeated Colby 66-56 behind a strong defensive performance, but lost a heartbreaker to Bowdoin on Saturday, as the Bobcats were edged 61-60 in overtime.
Against Colby, the Bobcats played solidly in each facet of the game and continually frustrated Colby’s scorers. Bates kept Colby from penetrating into the paint throughout the game, and forced the Mules to take contested jump shots from the perimeter.
“We were definitely able to keep Colby from getting into a rhythm offensively,” explained senior captain and guard Mark Brust.
Colby shot a mere 6 of 24 (25 percent) from three-point range, while the Bobcats repeatedly attacked the basket, drawing fouls and getting to the free throw line. Overall, Bates went 17 of 21 on free throws.
Bates committed only four turnovers for the game, while forcing Colby into ten turnovers. The easy points contributed to Bates’ lead never being seriously threatened, and the Bobcats coasted to victory.
Senior co-captain and center Ed Bogdonavich led the Bobcats with 19 points while shooting 50 percent from the field. Brust also played well, contributing 10 points, while junior forward Sean Cunningham dished out a team-high five assists.
The second game of the weekend turned out to be Bates’ second overtime loss to Bowdoin on the year.
The Bowdoin defense stifled Bates’ penetration for the most part, but good shooting from junior guard Luke Matarazzo and sophomore guard Adam Philpot (two of three from behind the arc) kept Bates in contention. Matarazzo had a strong game offensively, scoring 19 points, including five of ten shooting from three-point range.
However, Bates failed to convert key offensive opportunities at the end of regulation and overtime that would have sealed the win.
The Bobcats missed three shots at the end of regulation, and held a lead late into overtime before allowing Bowdoin to hit the game-winner with eight seconds remaining.
Brust had a decent look at a runner to win the game, but was called for an offensive foul with under a second remaining.
“We played with great energy and executed our sets very well. Although we came up short against Bowdoin, we battled for every minute. Games like that are what bring a team together, especially a young team like us,” commented Matarazzo, “In the NESCAC, anybody can beat anybody on any given night, so it’s all about getting better every weekend. If we manage to communicate a little better on defense and knock down a few more free throws, we’ll be a dangerous team.”
By splitting these weekend games, Bates moves to 6-10 overall, tied for eighth in the NESCAC. However, Bates still has yet to play the majority of its NESCAC games, and after a strong performance, the Bobcats certainly expect to be able to move into the top half of the conference and compete in the league playoff bracket.
Bates next hosts Connecticut College on Friday at 6:00pm in the Alumni Gym.