Men's basketball falls to Bowdoin in NESCAC opener

Max Hummel and the Bates men's basketball team fell 71-50 to Bowdoin in their NESCAC opener Jan. 5, 2018. (Theophil Syslo/Bates College)

LEWISTON, Maine -- In the New England Small College Athletic Conference opener for both teams, Bowdoin College scored the first seven points and never looked back, controlling the Bates men's basketball team from start to finish in a 71-50 decision Friday night in Alumni Gymnasium.

The Polar Bears (9-2, 1-0 NESCAC) won their third straight game while dealing the host Bobcats (7-6, 0-1) their third defeat in a row.

Bowdoin guard Jack Bors scored the first five points of the game and assisted Hugh O'Neil for a layup for a 7-0 lead with 17:18 to go in the first half, prompting a quick Bates timeout.

After Shawn Strickland's 3-pointer gave Bates its first basket of the game, reducing the lead to 9-4, Bowdoin quickly expanded the lead to 10 points (14-4) with a three by Zavier Rucker and a jumper by Liam Farley.

James Mortimer came off the bench and knocked down three 3-pointers in a span of under two minutes, closing the gap to 21-13 with 10:45 to go in the half, but that was as close as Bates would get for the remainder of the game.

Blake Gordon answered Mortimer's first three with one of his own, and after a steal and a layup by Stephen Ferraro, Gordon found David Reynolds for a three in answer to Mortimer's third three, bumping Bowdoin's lead into double digits for good. The Polar Bears expanded the lead to as many as 21 points before the end of the opening half and took a 38-21 lead into the break.

Bors led Bowdoin with 10 points, four rebounds and two assists in the first half, but the bigger story was Bates' cold shooting, as the Bobcats made only six of 26 field-goal attempts in the period. Bowdoin also outrebounded Bates 24-14 in the half.

Tom Coyne drove for a layup on the first possession of the second half, representing Bates' first points in the paint in the game. Back-to-back hoops by Nick Lynch and Jeff Spellman made it a 13-point game (40-27) with 16:46 to play, but Bowdoin answered with a demoralizing 9-0 run to assume a 49-27 lead. Simonds bookended the run with a jumper and a layup, while Reynolds knocked down a jumper and a three.

Simonds scored four straight points after a Mortimer layup, then assisted Ferraro for a layup to give the Polar Bears a game-high 26-point advantage.

Bowdoin dominated the boards by a margin of 20 (49-29) and shot .455 as a team from the field while Bates finished with a team shooting percentage of .259, including .226 from beyond the arc.

Reynolds led Bowdoin with 14 points and four assists off the bench, while Bors added 12 points and six boards. O'Neil contributed 11 points and nine rebounds and Rucker totaled 11 points and eight rebounds. Simonds pitched in 10 oints, eight rebounds and four assists.

Mortimer led Bates with 14 points, followed by Jeff Spellman's seven points. Lynch finished with a team-high seven rebounds.

On Saturday at 3pm, Bates hosts Colby while Bowdoin plays at Tufts.