LEWISTON, Maine -- The difference in Saturday's NESCAC men's basketball between Amherst and Bates proved to be little more than the difference in reach between Amherst junior Joseph Schneider and everyone else.
The 6-foot-10 center went off for 22 points, nine rebounds and two blocked shots in the second half, as the visiting Mammoths pulled away from a two-point deficit with under eight minutes remaining to win 80-61 in Alumni Gym. The 24 points were double his previous high this season.
Amherst (14-7, 5-3 NESCAC) outrebounded Bates (11-12, 3-6 NESCAC) by a 50-27 margin, including 27-11 in the second half. The Mammoths exploited their height advantage for a 20-0 difference in second-chance points (14-0 in the second half) and 52-20 in points in the paint (32-10 in the second half).
Bates had the lead as late as with 7:26 left in the game, after Jeff Spellman's fast-break layup made it 58-56. But Amherst responded with 14 straight points over the next five minutes, powered by four offensive putbacks and an assist by Schneider, who was able to simply outreach every Bobcat for every loose ball around the basket.
Bates sophomore Tom Coyne stemmed the run with a 3-pointer, but Amherst answered with an alley-oop dunk by Schneider on a feed by Johnny McCarthy, making it 72-61 with 2:13 left in the game. Bates then began fouling the Mammoths to slow the game clock, but Amherst made all six of its free throws down the stretch. Grant Robinson fed Schneider for a final hoop in the closing seconds of the game for the final margin.
First-year forward Fru Che totaled 13 points and 11 rebounds off the bench and led Amherst in assists with three while shooting 6-for-8 from the field. McCarthy chipped in 11 points and seven rebounds.
Greenhalgh and Gilpin made two 3-pointers apiece in the first 10 minutes of the game as Bates built a lead as high as 11 (21-10). Che scored three straight buckets and Grant Robinson sank a jumper to cut it to 21-17 with 9:12 to go in the half.
Greenhalgh's third three of the half, following a pair of free throws by Gilpin, put the Bobcats back ahead by six, but Amherst closed out the half with seven straight points, five by Eric Sellew, for a 36-35 halftime advantage.
The score was tied five times and it changed hands six times in the second half before Schneider and the Mammoths pulled away at the end.
Bates hosts Trinity College next Friday at 7pm in its regular-season finale. Amherst travels to Wesleyan for a non-conference game on Tuesday at 7pm.