If the Bates men’s basketball team is going to hit its stride, it needs to happen soon. Because after Saturday’s 90-75 defeat at Tufts, the Bobcats are 2-5 in NESCAC play and ninth in the conference, just ahead of 1-5 Colby and a half-game behind 2-4 Bowdoin, meaning that Bates would miss the NESCAC tournament if the season ended today.

Though Bates managed to win Saturday’s second half by a 46-43 margin, their improved play came far too late. The Jumbos, who have a 15-4 overall record and are 5-2 in conference play, dominated the first half and took an insurmountable 47-29 lead into the break. Tufts held a lead for the entirety of the game, thanks to efficient shooting (49 percent from the field) and their ability to draw fouls on the Bobcats. For the game, Tufts attempted an incredible 42 free throws (making 29), while Bates was only 13-22 from the foul line.

Senior Mike Boornazian continued his strong play despite the constant uphill battle. Boornazian led the team in the three major offensive categories, scoring 24 points, grabbing 13 rebounds, and dishing five assists. He is now averaging 15.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game on the season. Fellow senior Mike Newton was the only other Bobcat to score in double figures, posting 13 points and six rebounds. One positive for Bates to take away as a team is the fact that they outrebounded Tufts, 51-41. Unfortunately, that advantage wasn’t enough to overcome Tufts’ superior shooting effort and frequent trips to the foul line.

At press time, Bates is 9-10 overall on the season, although NESCAC competition is definitely the team’s foremost concern at the moment. The Bobcats will play their first home game in approximately three weeks this Friday in a critical NESCAC matchup against Amherst.