Men's basketball evens NESCAC record with 83-76 win over Colby

Junior Nick Lynch (left) and first-year Sunny Piplani celebrate a big basket in Bates' 83-76 win over Colby on Saturday, January 6, 2018. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

LEWISTON, Maine -- The Bates men's basketball team held off a furious rally from the Colby College Mules to prevail 83-76 Saturday afternoon at Alumni Gymnasium. 

Junior Nick Lynch (Westford, Mass.) led the way for Bates (8-6, 1-1 NESCAC) with a career-high 20 points and 10 rebounds. Sophomores Jeff Spellman (Boston, Mass.) and Tom Coyne (Falmouth, Maine) added 17 and 16 points respectively. Coyne dished out a game-high six assists as well. 

Bates jumped out to a 30-7 lead but the Mules (7-5, 0-2 NESCAC) refused to go away, taking a 54-52 lead on three Sam Jefferson free throws with 11:45 left in regulation. Jefferson scored a game-high 23 points to pace the Mules on the afternoon.

Lynch tied the game less than 20 seconds later on a jumper. 

Bates took the lead for good when first-year James Mortimer (Sudbury, Mass.) hit a free throw to make the score 57-56 in favor of the Bobcats with 9:30 left in regulation. But the Mules make Bates work hard for the victory.

A Dean Weiner layup with 2:46 left in regulation made the score 69-68 in favor of the Bobcats. Weiner finished with a double-double (19 points, 11 rebounds) for Colby. Senior captain Shawn Strickland (Middletown, Conn.) answered in a big way with a deep three to push the Bates lead to 72-68. 

With the lead at 74-70 and 1:08 remaining, Coyne hit his first three of the day to put the game out of reach. 

The Bobcats could not have gotten off to a better start. Up 4-2, they went on a 13-0 run. Junior Brandon Galloway (Fort Washington, Md.) hit a three with 14:08 left in the first half to make the score 17-2. Lynch's layup with 7:20 to go in the half pushed the Bobcat advantage to 30-7. 

The Mules answered with an 11-0 run, capped off by a Pat Dickert layup with 4:50 to go in the half, trimming the deficit to 30-18.

Coyne's layup with six seconds left made the score 41-27 in favor of the Bobcats at halftime. 

With the score 43-29 early in the second half, the Mules went on a 10-0 run before Lynch's jumper with 16:12 to go in the game put Bates up 45-39. The Mules continued to rally and Sean Gilmore tied the game at 48 on a layup with 13:32 left in regulation. 

Junior Max Hummel (Glastonbury, Conn.) responded with a layup but Colby's Wallace Tucker hit a three to put the Mules up 51-50 with 12:46 remaining. Sophomore Kody Greenhalgh (Warwick, R.I.) hit a jumper to make the score 52-51 Bates. Jefferson's three free throws on the other end proved to be the second and final lead of the game for the Mules.

The win marks the Bobcats' fourth straight NESCAC win against Colby and their third consecutive victory over the Mules overall. 

Bates hits the road in NESCAC action to take on No. 4 nationally ranked Middlebury Friday at 7:00 p.m.