Endicott 76, Bates 75
LAST SECOND SHOT BY ENDICOTT SPOILS BATES COMEBACK ATTEMPT, 76-75
BEVERLY, Mass. -- In a game that featuredeight lead changes and 10 ties, a 10-foot leaning jumper as time expired gave the host Endicott College Power Gulls (9-7) a non-conference win over the visiting Bates College Bobcats (5-8), 76-75.
The first half of the contest featured six ties and five lead changes. With the game tied, 28-28, at the 5:25 mark, Endicott finished the half with an 11-5 run as sophomore Andy Kirk hit three of his four 3-pointers for the game in that stretch. A bucket and a free throw by Bates junior Rommel Padonou (Libreville, Gabon) kept the Power Gulls from taking a larger lead into the locker room.
Endicott opened the second stanza on another 11-5 run to open their biggest lead of the night at 50-38 just under four minutes into the second half on a hoop by junior Jason Diaz at 15:51. The Bobcats stepped up their defense at that point, scoring the next six baskets of the game, including two trifectas by sophomore guard Billy Hart (Haverhill, Mass.) and three assists and a bucket by first-year guard and Beverly native Matt LaPointe. LaPointe's basket at the 12:54 gave Bates a 52-50 lead, their first since the 7:04 mark of the first half.
The Power Gulls regained the lead on their next possession and expanded it to five points at the midway point of the second, but Bates reclaimed a 64-62 lead at 7:45 on a nice post move by first-year forward C.J. Neely (No. Easton, Mass.). Endicott responded with the next five points, including a pair of buckets in the paint from junior Adam Lattanzi and a free throw at 5:50, but the Bobcats looked to take over from there, going on an 8-0 run that put them up 72-67 with 2:15 left. From there on, Bates hit just 3-of-7 free throws down the stretch. Two of those came from Hart, who put the Bobcats up six, 74-68, with 51.8 seconds to play. But Kirk responded, hitting three free throws when fouled behind the arc and converting a Bates turnover into his fourth 3-pointer of the contest with 17.7 seconds left in the game to tie the score at 74. LaPointe drove to the lane a picked up a foul with 8.3 seconds left on the clock, but converted just one of two shots. Endicott came away with the rebound and junior Eric Simonelli, the team's leading scorer and a high school teammate of Bates sophomore Alex Wilson, (Duxbury, Mass.) got the ball, drove in an hit the game-winning shot as time expired.
Wilson led all scorers with 22 points on 9-of-14 shooting, while Padonou had a game-high nine rebounds, all coming in the second half. LaPointe chipped in 10 assists, his fourth such game of the season. Kirk led the Power Gulls with 19 points, while Lattanzi had 15. Both shared team-high honors with seven rebounds.