Bowdoin’s Sam Grad blocks a shot by Bates’ Nick Gilpin as he tries to drive to the basket during the first half of Thursday night’s game in Lewiston. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)
LEWISTON — Bowdoin’s David Reynolds scored 25 points as the Polar Bears exited Alumni Gymnasium with a 80-59 win over Bates College on Thursday night.
The Polar Bears and Bobcats went back and forth for much of the first half, with each team forcing turnovers and making big shots.
Bates scored five points in the final 8:15 of the first half and dug itself into a 14-point hole while being outscored by eight in that time.
“We definitely had some costly turnovers that they converted on, so they made their run,” Bates head coach Jon Furbush said. “Even the shots that we got, I thought, were pretty good looks. We are a team right now that I think is evolving, so if we aren’t shooting the ball well any team is going to be hard to beat. (Scoring only) 58 points is going to be hard to win.”
Bowdoin’s David Reynolds scored his team’s final seven points of the first half to finish the first 20 minutes with 12.
“We had a rocky start at the beginning, and a lot of us weren’t moving the ball around as much as we could,” Reynolds said. “We started passing and getting good shots and moved the ball around.”
Bowdoin bested Bates across the board in hustle stats in the first half by grabbing five offensive rebounds and forcing nine turnovers. Hugh O’Neil grabbed seven total rebounds in the first half.
In the second half, Bates trimmed the 38-24 halftime deficit to just 11 points, 41-30, with a couple scores from Nick Lynch, who finished with five points. Alumni Gym was rocking and Bowdoin needed an answer.
And throughout the game, Reynolds seemed to be that answer.
“In the second half they’re such a good team and it’s a big rivalry, I was proud of our guys that they came out really focused and played hard in the second half,” Bowdoin head coach Tim Gilbride said. “They made shots and got right there and I thought we responded. That’s what you’re looking for when the other team is doing something and the crowd is getting into it, that’s where you see how you respond.”
After a Zavier Rucker layup to put the Polar Bears up 52-35, Reynolds scored two backdoor layups, both on the left side of the court and both off passes from Sam Grad. Jack Bors scored a three in between the two Reynolds layups.
“We knew they were over-playing me and Jack Simonds so we run that play a lot but in the second half we definitely talked about going back-door in the second half and it worked,” Reynolds said.
Bates shot just 39 percent from the field Thursday and turned the ball over 13 total time. While the percentage is low, Furbush is optimistic based on the shots he saw the Bobcats take.
“As a coach you look at, are we getting good shots or are we taking bad shots and we have to convert?” Furbush said. “The key with us when the shots aren’t going in then we have to play tougher and we have to get more stops.”
Bates tried to rally back with a layup from James Mortimer and then a trey from Brandon Galloway, each of whom finished with nine points to lead the team, but rebounding was a shortcoming for the Bobcats, as Bowdoin out-rebounded them by 13, including nine offensive boards.
Reynolds put the finishing touches on his game late in the second half when he drilled a 3 in the defender’s face from the top of the circle to make the lead 70-48. Reynolds jogged back down the court with a smile as he stared at this defender, showing he was having fun in the ruckus environment.
“It definitely got loud in there, but it’s such a good environment, awesome gym,” Reynolds said. “We have young guys, but mostly our leadership is seniors and juniors so we tried to settle down our younger players and it was all about communication, either verbally or signs we were making. It was really fun environment.”
For Gilbride, Reynolds is the straw the stirs the drink.
“He’s a very good shooter and the team does a good job of trying to find him and set him up for different things,” Gilbride said.
Bates will now wait for Saturday to host Colby College, while Bowdoin will host the University of Southern Maine on Sunday.
Bowdoin’s Hugh O’Neil blocks a shot by Bates’ Jeff Spellman during Thursday night’s game in Lewiston. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)
Bowdoin’s Jack Simonds swats away a layup attempt by Bates’ Andrew Snoddy during Thursday night’s game in Lewiston. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)
Bates College forward Andrew Snoddy dishes off a pass to a teammate under the basket while being defended by Bowdoin’s Zavier Rucker during Thursday night’s game in Lewiston. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)