GORHAM – Junior captain Graham Safford scored a game-high 18 points to lead five Bobcats in double figures as Bates College men’s basketball defeated the University of Southern Maine, 79-68, in Hill Gymnasium on Thursday night.

The Bobcats (5-1) held a double-digit lead over the final 22:39 of the game and beat the Huskies (3-2) for the first time since Nov. 24, 2009 after dropping the previous three meetings.

Safford hit 7-of-15 shots from the floor and added four rebounds and four assists. Sophomore Mike Boornazian totaled 17 points, four rebounds, and four assists while junior Billy Selmon netted 12 points.

Senior captain Sean Cunningham compiled 11 points on 4-of-4 shooting, five rebounds, and three assists, and junior Adam Philpott registered 11 points off the bench.

For the Huskies, Conor Sullivan notched a double-double on 16 points and a game-best 14 rebounds. James Odneal and Cole Libby each posted 13 points, and Tyler Penney had 12.

With the game tied at 9-9, the Bobcats went on an 11-0 run to take a 20-9 lead at the 9:36 mark with Safford scoring nine of the team’s 20 points during that stretch. Bates pushed its advantage to 34-17 with 4:31 left in the first half after a Boornazian 3-pointer from the wing and a crafty layup from Selmon on the left side.

The Huskies responded with an 8-0 run to pull within 34-25 with just over three minutes to play in the opening half. A 3-pointer from Philpott later gave the Bobcats a 39-25 edge as he scored the team’s last five points in the period and Bates brought a 41-29 lead into the break.

Bates extended its advantage to 56-38 with 14:23 to play after scoring eight consecutive points including two 3-pointers from Boornazian and a Cunningham jumper, exposing gaps in the USM zone. The visitors pushed their edge to as large as 19 points at 59-40 with 11:50 remaining. The Huskies cut their deficit to 10 points on three occasions in the second half – as late as 74-64 with 3:19 left.

Women’s basketball

USM 74, Bates 54

GORHAM – Senior Meredith Kelly led all scorers with 20 points, but Bates College women’s basketball fell to the University of Southern Maine, 74-54, at Hill Gymnasium on Tuesday evening.

The Huskies (3-2) shot 60 percent from the field in the game and held an advantage greater than 20 points over the Bobcats (3-3) less than four minutes into the second half.

Kelly shot 6-of-15 from the floor and 6-of-7 from the foul line to record 20 or more points in a game for the fourth time this season.

Junior Allaina Murphy  netted 10 points while sophomore Chelsea Nason tallied 12 rebounds and six points. Sophomore Leah Humes chipped in off the bench with nine points, two rebounds, and two steals.

For the Huskies, Erin McNamara netted 15 points on 7-of-11 shooting while Rebecca Knight posted a double-double with 13 points and a game-high 15 rebounds. Off the bench, Abby Hasson registered 14 points, connecting on 6-of-7 field goals, to go with six rebounds.

USM made 33-of-55 shots from the field in the game after converting on 20-of-28 attempts in the first half. Southern Maine out-rebounded Bates 41-26 in the contest.

After Murphy scored the game’s opening basket, the Huskies used a 13-2 run to take a 13-4 lead with 14:11 to go in the first half. With USM leading 15-6, the Bobcats responded with a 10-4 spurt which included three layups from Kelly and a 3-pointer from Nason to pull within 19-16 at the 9:43 mark.

USM countered with a 10-2 streak over the next three minutes which gave the hosts a 29-18 edge. Southern Maine maintained at least an eight-point edge over the remainder of the period and brought a 42-29 advantage into the locker room.

The Huskies opened the second half with an 11-3 run, despite a 3-pointer from Kelly, to grab a 53-32 lead just under four minutes into the stanza. USM pushed its advantage to as large as 24 points midway through the half.

Bowdoin 64, UNE 59

BRUNSWICK – Sarah Binkhorst scored a career high 23 points as the Bowdoin women’s basketball team held on for a 64-59 win over University of New England on Tuesday evening in Morrell Gymnasium.

The Polar Bears remain unbeaten and improve to 5-0, while handing the Nor’easters (4-1) their first loss of the season. Bowdoin has not opened a season with five consecutive wins since the 2009-10 when the team went to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen.

Binkhorst led both teams with 23 points, including a perfect 4-4 from the line and 3-4 from 3-point range. Shannon Brady tallied 17 points for the Polar Bears, while pulling down eight rebounds with a steal and block. Alanna Vose scored a team high 18 points for UNE with five rebounds and three assists. Both Sadie DiPierro and Kelly Coleman knocked down 11 points for the Nor’easters.

The two teams stayed within striking distance over the opening ten minutes of play, trading the lead three times. Sparked by a three from Binkhorst, Bowdoin stretched its lead to 16-10 with seven unanswered points. The Nor’easters began to chip away as they closed within two off a 3-pointer from Bose with 7:56 remaining. Bowdoin closed out the half with a 9-5 run over the final two minutes with Selena Lorrey and Binkhorst sinking three 3-point shots to send the Polar Bears into the half up 31-23.

Bowdoin stretched its lead to 38-26 under four minutes into the second half as Marle Curle and Brady each sank shots while Kirsten Prue dropped in a three. The Nor’easters answered with a 12-2 run over the next six minutes to close within two of the Polar Bears. Bowdoin led by as much as seven points, before UNE took the lead with 4:36 remaining, off a 3-pointer from DiPierro. Phelps evened the score at 54-54 off a two made free throws allowing the Polar Bears to pull away in the final minutes with a 10-5 run, capped by a pair of Binkhorst free throws.

UMF grad Barnes named Bates softball coach

LEWISTON —  Bates College Director of Athletics Kevin McHugh on Tuesday announced the appointment of Bowdoin assistant McKell Barnes as the fifth head coach of the Bobcats softball team.

Barnes replaces Gwen Lexow, Bates’ associate director of athletics and senior woman administrator, who has led the Bates softball program for 15 years. Lexow will relinquish her coaching duties at the end of the semester to focus completely on full-time administrative support for the department. Barnes will begin her new post in January.

“It is an honor to represent Bates College as the next head softball coach,” Barnes said. “Bates offers the chance to work with faculty and student-athletes who embrace the importance of community, camaraderie and excellence throughout academics and athletics, and I think that is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I look forward to maintaining important traditions established by Coach Lexow, and to creating new ones to sustain a winning program on a yearly basis.”

The 2009 North Atlantic Conference Player of the Year at UMaine-Farmington, as well as UMF’s Female Athlete of the Year in 2011, Barnes has been highly involved in coaching over the past two years, while also teaching mathematics at Brunswick High School, her alma mater.

Barnes has served as an assistant coach at Bowdoin since 2012, and she has coached with the Maine Thunder travel softball program, as head coach of its 16U team, since November 2011. At Bowdoin, under head coach Ryan Sullivan, Barnes helped the Polar Bears to back-to-back NESCAC Softball Championship appearances while compiling a 58-28 overall record.

“McKell’s experience as an assistant coach at Bowdoin, along with her head coaching role with the Maine Thunder, have prepared her to assume this leadership role for the Bobcats,” McHugh said. “As a former NAC Player of the Year and All-New England team member, McKell brings a passion for the sport and an energy that will serve the softball team well. We look forward to her taking the reins and advancing the Bates softball program.”

Barnes graduated from UMF with a bachelor’s degree in education in May 2011, and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in sports leadership from Northeastern.

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