Bates 78, Gordon 76
BATES MEN'S HOOPS HOLDS OFF GORDON, 78-76
LEWISTON, Maine The Bates College men's basketball team jumped out to a 21 point lead midway through the first half and hung tonight to defeat the visiting Gordon College Fighting Scots, 78-76, in Alumni Gymnasium. The Bobcats' balanced scoring with four players in double figures overcame a career night from Gordon sophomore Ben Earle (Standish, Maine), who had 45 points, matching the third-highest performance in NCAA Division III this season.
Bates (9-3) hit 10 of their first 16 shots, including seven-of-nine from 3-point range to take a 29-8 lead just eight-and-a-half minutes into the game. Gordon (7-5) jumped back into the game on the hot hand of Earle, who hit five consecutive 3-pointers over a four-minute span to cut the lead to 31-28 at the 4:48 mark of the first. Earle hit his sixth trifecta of the first half with 2:44 remaining to get the Scots within two, but Bates held fast, taking a 41-36 lead into the locker room on three straight free throws from senior Ed Walker (Roxbury, Mass.).
The Bobcats pushed the lead to as many as nine early in the second when senior Alex Wilson (Duxbury, Mass.) hit two free throws four minutes in to put the margin at 49-40. The Scots again fought back, going on a 14-4 run over the next 5:29 to take their first lead of the game at 54-53 on an Earle three-ball at the 10:28 mark. Bates sophomore Ramon Garcia (Haverhill, Mass.) answered with a trifecta after a Bobcat timeout, but Earle hit the next two buckets to give the Scots a 58-56 lead with 8:41 remaining.
Bates again pushed ahead by five points on consecutive buckets by Wilson over the next 1:11, but the game saw four ties and two lead changes over the final 5:21. Earle's 10th 3-pointer of the game gave the Scots their final lead at 73-72 with 3:50 on the clock, but Bates' C.J. Neely (No. Andover, Mass.) and Wilson scored the next three points from the free throw line, while a Neely jumper from the right of the free throw line extended put Bates up 77-73 with 1:15 on the clock, an insurmountable margin for Gordon.
Bates was led by Walker's 18 points and Wilson's 16, while Neely and sophomore Brian Gerrity (Manchester, Maine) added 11. Bates enjoyed a 20-7 scoring margin at the free throw line. Wilson led the Bobcats with eight rebounds, while Walker had six assists.
Earle's game-high 45 included a Gordon school-record 10 3-pointers, hitting 10-of-12 from beyond the arc and 15-of-21 overall. Junior Scott Beebe (Elgin, Ill.) had 17 points and seven assists, while classmate Josh Sylvester (Avon, Conn.) had a game-high 11 rebounds.
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