Men's basketball defeats Tufts for third straight year in 76-65 victory

Senior captain Nick Lynch scored 20 of his game-high 22 points in the first half to lead Bates men's basketball to a 76-65 victory over Tufts on Saturday, January 19, 2019 at Alumni Gymnasium. (Theophil Syslo/Bates College)

LEWISTON, Maine -- Senior captain Nick Lynch scored 20 of his game-high 22 points in the first half and four Bobcats scored in double figures to lead the Bates men's basketball team past Tufts by a score of 76-65 Saturday afternoon. 

With the win, Bates (5-12, 2-3 NESCAC) defeats Tufts (8-10, 2-3 NESCAC) in men's basketball for the third straight season. 

Lynch (Westford, Mass.) scored half of the Bobcats' points in the first half to propel Bates to a 40-36 halftime lead. Foul trouble plagued him in the second half but Lynch still finished with a double-double, grabbing a game-high 11 rebounds and making 10-18 field goal attempts.

In the second half, juniors Tom Coyne (Falmouth, Maine) and Jeff Spellman (Boston, Mass.) took over. Coyne scored 15 of his 18 points in the final 20 minutes and Spellman scored 13 of his 16 points down the stretch for the Bobcats. Spellman finished with eight rebounds and a game-high seven assists. Junior Kody Greenhalgh (West Warwick, R.I.) also finished in double figures with 14 points on 5-10 shooting to go along with five rebounds, five assists and a game-high five steals.

Luke Rogers paced the Jumbos with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Eric Savage finished with 14 points, six rebounds and five assists. Will Brady hit four three-pointers off the bench for 12 points and Brennan Morris added 10 points, five rebounds and three assists.

The Bobcats shot 47.5% from the floor and held the Jumbos to just 34.8% shooting.

Tufts jumped out to a 4-0 lead before Lynch scored six unanswered points and Greenhalgh hit a three with 16:34 left in the first half to put Bates up 9-4.

Bates led 18-17 with 11:35 remaining in the first half after a three from Savage got Tufts to within one. Then the Bobcats went on a 9-0 run in just over two minutes to grab a 27-17 lead on a Lynch tip-in. With 7:47 left, Lynch made a layup to give Bates an 11-point lead, its largest of the first half. After Brady made a three, first-year Andrew Snoddy (Stow, Mass.) threw down a two-hand slam on a perfect feed from Lynch to put Bates up 33-23 with 7:08 remaining.

The Jumbos began to chip away at the Bates lead. With 2:37 left in the half, Greenhalgh drilled a three to put Bates up 40-31. But Tufts ended the half on a 5-0 run to cut the Bobcat edge to four at the break.

Tufts opened the second half on an 8-0 run and the Bobcats found themselves down by four with 18:19 remaining in the game.

Spellman got the Bobcats rolling again with an old fashioned three-point play, cutting the Tufts lead to one and sending Rogers to the bench with his third personal foul. A Lynch tip-in with 17:29 to go put the Bobcats ahead for good.

With 13:15 remaining in the game, Rogers made a pair of free throws to trim the Bates lead to 52-51 but Coyne answered on the other end with a three to extend the lead to 55-51. This started a 10-0 run that culminated with a Greenhalgh three to put the Bobcats ahead 62-51 with 10:20 left.

Tufts refused to back down and with 4:44 to go in the game Max Oppenheim split a pair of free throws to get the Jumbos within four at 65-61. Coyne had the answer again, going on a personal 5-0 run to put Bates up nine with 3:25 remaining.

Greenhalgh, Spellman and Coyne combined to make six free throws down the stretch to ice the win. 

The Bobcats return to the Alumni Gym court this Friday when Bates takes on Wesleyan in NESCAC action at 7pm.