Bates started off their winter break schedule on the right foot with a 68-58 win over Saint Joseph’s College of Maine. Marcus Delpeche ‘17 led the team with 15 points and added three blocked shots to his stat line. His twin brother, Malcolm Delpeche ‘17, and guard Quin Leary ‘17 each put up 11 points. The Bobcats had one of their best shooting performances from beyond the arc, shooting 44%. They also had a season low in turnovers with just six.
The Bobcats continued their good play at the NYU’s Men’s Basketball Classic in New York City. They went undefeated in the two-day tournament, taking down Farmingdale State and Framingham State, respectively. The first game took place Dec. 29th. Marcus dominated, tallying 27 points and 17 rebounds, and brother Malcolm followed with a near double-double of 14 points and nine rebounds. Fellow senior Jerome Darling ‘17 gave the team a boost with his 15 points and a career high eight assists. The Bobcats finished with the most points in a half (60) since 2015 and the most points in a game (111) since 2013. They also broke a tournament record for most points in a game.
The next day, the Bobcats finished the tournament undefeated with a great defensive performance against Framingham State, winning 69-40. The Delpeche twins continued to have the juice, with Malcolm dropping a career-high 23 points to go along with 11 rebounds and five blocks, while Marcus added a double-double to the mix. The Bobcats never trailed during the game and held their opponents to 32% shooting and 40 points allowed — the lowest Bates has held an opponent to since a 2012 win over University of New England. Both of the twins earned an “all-classic” spot at the tournament due to their outstanding play.
Bates kept the hot streak going in the new year with a win at Brandeis 73-66 on January 3. Darling put up a career-high 20 points to lead the team and added four assists. The game was a tight one, with nine different lead changes. The Bobcats did not pull away until around 15 minutes left in the second half. The first years stepped up this game as Jeff Spellman ‘20 and Nick Gilpin ‘20 tallied 13 and six points, respectively. This was a big win for the ‘cats before going into NESCAC play against rival Colby on January on 6th.
In their conference opener, The Bobcats were able to exact revenge after their non-conference loss to Colby back on December 10. Malcolm led the team with 15 points, 12 rebounds, four blocked shots, and three assists. Everybody was firing on all cylinders, from Darling’s game-high 16 points to Justin Zukowski’s ‘18 11 points from off the bench, the Bobcats shot 48.4% from the field. They never trailed, and when Colby cut the deficit to seven points twice in the second half, the Bobcats pulled away again. Big shots from Max Eaton ‘17 and Darling sealed the deal and gave the Bobcats their first NESCAC win.
The hot hand was still sizzling on January 7 when Bates travelled to Bowdoin to beat them 64-59 to give the Bobcats their first 2-0 start in the NESCAC since 2006. Led by first year Tom Coyne ‘20, who scored a career-high 23 points, the Bobcats got a statement win over the Polar Bears. This game was intense from tip-off with 11 ties and eight lead changes, and had a score of 31-30 in favor of Bates at the half. The Bobcats went on a quick 5-0 run to start the second half. Bowdoin responded with an 8-2 run, tying things up at 38 on a Tim Ahn three-pointer with 16:09 to go in the game. Bowdoin then took the lead with a go-ahead Ahn three and went up 43-40 with the help of a Jack Simonds jumper with 13:58 left. Malcolm threw down a slam dunk to cut the deficit to one, but Bowdoin responded with an 8-0 run, giving them their largest lead of the game at 51-42. That is when Coyne took the game into his own hands. He went on a personal 9-0 run to solidify the Bobcat’s win. This win at Brunswick was the first one since 2011 and put their record at 11-3. The last time they were 11-3 they went on to their first NCAA tournament appearance in the 2014-2015 season.
The Bobcats then moved to 3-0 in NESCAC play with a win over Hamilton on January 13. The Delpeche twins continued their dual dominance, both putting up double-doubles. Spellman would provide plenty of support off the bench with his 16 points to give the team an 83-78 victory at home in front of a large crowd at Alumni Gymnasium.
The seven game win streak would end this Saturday, as 15th ranked Middlebury came into Alumni and handed Bates a 79-71 loss. Middlebury dominated the glass, out rebounding the Bobcats 45-31, leading to 21 second chance points for the Panthers whereas Bates only grabbed seven second chance points. The Panther’s Jake Brown led all scorers with 24 points. Spellman would continue his personal hot streak with a team-high 14 points off the bench and Malcolm added 12 points and seven rebounds. The Bobcats never led in the game and got as close as 11 points with 11:35 left but the Panthers refused to let up and put the game away right after.
With a 3-1 conference mark so far this season, tied for second place in the NESCAC, the Bobcats will look for a quick turnaround, as two more NESCAC matchups with Connecticut College and Wesleyan will be played at home this weekend.