LEWISTON, Maine -- Senior Jeff Spellman scored 28 points to lead the Bates men's basketball team to an 84-70 non-conference victory over Husson in the Bobcats' season opener Wednesday night in Alumni Gym.
Bates (1-0) avenged its loss at Husson last season with the victory, while dropping the in-state rivals to 2-2.
A big opening-night crowd watched the Bobcats outscore Husson 43-26 in the first half, outrebounding the Eagles 25-15 in the first 20 minutes and holding Husson to 9-of-28 shooting from the field (0-9 from three-point distance). Spellman (Boston, Mass.) made only 4-of-13 shots in the first half but led Bates with 10 points, four assists and three rebounds. Senior Nick Gilpin (Hampden, Maine) and junior James Mortimer (Sudbury, Mass.) both made 3-of-4 shots in the first half and senior Kody Greenhalgh (West Warwick, R.I.) scored seven points off the bench. With Husson starters combining to shoot 6-for-20 in the half, Scott Lewis led the visitors with six points off the bench.
Husson rebounded with a better second half and outscored Bates 44-41, but the Bobcats remained warm from long distance, making 7-of-13 3-pointers in the second half, as they held Husson at bay.
Trailing 74-57 with 4:36 to go, Husson made a run to close the gap to 74-65, as Derek Collin made a 3-pointer followed by a jumper and a three by Justice Kendall. But on the Eagles' next trip down, Spellman made a steal and converted a three-point play to return a 12-point cushion to the hosts. Spellman iced the game with a pair of free throws with 1:35 left, followed by a 3-pointer with 53 seconds remaining, which made it 82-67.
Bates finished with a 47-42 edge in rebounding and a healthy three-point shooting percentage of .448 (13-29). The Bobcats made 31-70 shots from the field (.443) and were 9-15 (.600) from the free throw line. Husson shot 27-71 from the field (.380), 5-25 from long distance (.200) and 11-18 from the free throw line (.611). Turnovers were 15-13 in Husson's favor.
Collin led Husson with 18 points, shooting 8-of-13 from the floor and adding eight rebounds. DJ Bussey, Brett Cunningham and Kendall scored 10 apiece, with Cunningham and Bruce St. Peter leading the Eagles with eight rebounds apiece. Isiah Hart had a team-high three assists in 10 minutes off the bench.
Spellman added four assists and two steals to his highest scoring output since Jan. 2 of his sophomore season. Gilpin followed with 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting and 4-of-5 from behind the arc, adding eight rebounds, three assists and two steals. Mortimer scored 11 points to go with four assists and two steals, and Greenhalgh contributed 10 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two blocks off the bench.
Sophomore Andrew Snoddy (Stow, Mass.) shared Bates' team lead in rebounding with eight boards.
Bates will stay at home for its next game, hosting Babson College Sunday at 2pm.