BRUNSWICK, Maine -- The Bates and Bowdoin men's basketball teams stayed within single-digit deficits of each other for the entirety of their yearly non-conference game Thursday night at Bowdoin, before the host Polar Bears pulled away down the stretch for a 70-63 win over the Bobcats.
Sophomore Tom Coyne (Falmouth, Maine) led Bates (4-2) with a season-high 22 points and nine rebounds, as well as a team-high three assists, while junior center Nick Lynch (Westford, Mass.) added career-highs in points (12) and rebounds (10). Sophomore guards Nick Gilpin (Hampden, Maine) and Jeff Spellman (Boston, Mass.) also scored in double figures with 12 and 11 points, respectively.
Two of Coyne's three highest scoring nights have taken place at Bowdoin -- he scored 23 points in Bates' 64-59 NESCAC win in Brunswick last season.
Bates took good care of the ball, committing nine turnovers to Bowdoin's 18, but the Bobcats made only 6-of-28 three-point attempts (.214) and 5-of-10 free throws, in contrast to Tuesday night's home win over Husson, when they shot .533 (8-15) from three and .839 (26-31) at the free-throw line. Bowdoin also struggled from long range (2-14) but shot .525 from the field overall (31-59) and outrebounded Bates 45-33.
Jack Simonds scored 14 points, all in the second half, to lead the Polar Bears (7-2). Hugh O'Neil matched Lynch with 12 points and 11 rebounds and David Reynolds contributed 13 points and six rebounds off the bench.
Bates led 32-29 at the half and extended its advantage as Coyne carried over his aggressive first half play (10 points on 10 shots) into the early second half. Coyne poured in four buckets, including a pair of threes, as Bates took its largest lead of the game with 15:39 left, at 46-39.
But the Bobcats missed 11 of their next 12 shots, while Bowdoin embarked on a 15-2 run, instigated by three makes in a row by Simonds. Zavier Rucker's layup gave Bowdoin a 54-48 lead with 8:39 to go, before Spellman stopped the run with a three.
The game hit a sloppy stretch as both teams traded turnovers, but Lynch made three baskets in a row to pull the Bobcats back within a point, at 58-57, with 3:41 to go. But Bates missed its next three shots while Simonds and Reynolds both converted at the other end, giving the Polar Bears breathing room at 63-57. A stepback jumper by Simonds with 1:09 to go and a layup by Rucker with 47 seconds left sealed the win for the hosts.
The Bobcats and Polar Bears will meet again to open NESCAC play on Jan. 5 in Lewiston.
Bates will play another non-conference game against an in-state and NESCAC rival on Saturday at Colby, tipping off at 3pm.