Men's basketball falls at Bates in final minutes

Bates College’s Ed Bogdanovich tied a season high with 21 points and the Bobcats rallied for a 59-56 NESCAC victory over Hamilton College at Bates’ Alumni Gym on Feb. 9.

The Bobcats (10-14 overall, 4-6 NESCAC) ended a nine-game losing streak against the Continentals and picked up their first win in the series since 1973-74. Bates shot a season-high 52.9 percent (9-17) from 3-point range, including 7 of 10 in the second half.

Luke Matarazzo poured in 17 points on the strength of five 3-pointers and Mark Brust dished out seven assists. Mike Boornazian grabbed a team-high seven rebounds and scored nine points off the bench.

Peter Kazickas '15 led the Continentals with 13 points and was 6 of 7 from the floor. Greg Newton '14 chipped in 10 points and Joseph Lin '15 passed out a season-high five assists. Bradley Gifford '15 recorded a team-best seven rebounds and added 10 points and two blocked shots off the bench.

Hamilton (12-11, 3-6) raced out to an 11-3 lead and remained in front the entire first half. Kazickas made all three of his shot attempts and had seven points during the opening stretch. Hamilton took its largest lead at 20-11 midway through the half and matched it at 25-16 after a trifecta by Jack Donnelly '16 with 7:12 remaining.

The Bobcats answered with seven straight points and closed within 25-23. Bogdanovich converted a layup and a 3-point play en route to 12 points in the opening session. The Continentals still held a slim two-point lead when they scored the final four points of the half and took a 31-25 advantage into the break. Hamilton shot 50 percent in the opening 20 minutes.

Neither team scored during the first three minutes of the second half. Newton finally nailed a 3-pointer that put Hamilton up 34-25. The Bobcats responded with an 8-0 run and trailed 34-33. Matarazzo and Graham Safford each hit a shot from beyond the arc and Boornazian added a dunk. After Hart made a layup, Matarazzo hit a pair of shots from long range, and Bates had its first lead at 39-36 with 10:39 remaining.

Gifford answered for the Continentals with eight consecutive points that put Hamilton back on top, 44-39. Gifford started the run with a layup, followed with a 3-pointer and finished with a 3-point play with 8:07 to go.

The Continentals still led 49-44 with 5:31 left, but Bogdanovich made a pair of free throws and Boornazian drained another shot from long range to tie the score at 49-49 with 4:12 remaining. The Continentals scored seven of the next nine points, capped by a trifecta by Matt Hart '16, and went back in front 56-51 with 2:17 left.

Bates regained the lead for good with 1:10 to go after back-to-back 3-pointers by Safford and Matarazzo made it 57-56. Hart missed a 3-pointer with 34 seconds left and Matarazzo calmly made two free throws for the final margin with 15 seconds remaining.

The Continentals had one last attempt to tie the score with 3 seconds remaining, but the shot was off the mark. Bates shot 52.4 percent in the second half, and Matarazzo dropped in 14 points in the final 20 minutes.

"In a very hard-fought game, we needed our defense to get a big stop that didn't happen," Hamilton head coach Adam Stockwell said. "Getting just one stop in the last two minutes would have gone a long way towards changing the outcome. Bates deserves a lot of credit for making the game-winning plays on both ends down the stretch."

Overall, Bates shot 45.5 percent (20-44) from the floor. The Bobcats held a slight edge on the boards, 29-27. The Continentals shot 44 percent (22-50) from the field, including 35.3 percent (6-17) from long range.

The Bobcats have assured themselves one of eight berths in the NESCAC championship, slated to begin next Saturday. Hamilton is tied for seventh place with one game remaining.

Hamilton's game at Tufts University scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 10, has been postponed again. A new date and time have not been announced yet.

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