LEWISTON — It was obvious from the get-go that two evenly matched teams like Bates College and Clark University would never find an opportunity to blow Saturday’s men’s basketball game wide open.

The Bobcats watched their eight-point lead slowly being eaten away by the Cougars, who caught up with Bates in the last minute to haul away a hard-fought 63-60 victory at Alumni Gymnasium.

Bates’ (0-1) opener was fast-paced and also quickly became a showdown of one-upmanship on offense from two teams that measured up in height, speed and defense.

“It was clearly our first game,” Bates coach Jon Furbush said. “We showed we had inexperience — just did not get it done tonight.

“I thought we defended great … we made their players take really skilled shots. I mean, they made them, but I think our ball-screen coverage was good. I don’t know what the final rebounding total was, but we outrebounded them in first half pretty good. We just struggled on offense. It is going to be a painful one to watch on film.”

Bates did outrebound Clark in the game, 40-27.


Senior guard Stephon Baxter (22 team-high points), helped the Bobcats build a lead with his three steals in second half.

Bates took command with a 60-52 lead when junior guard Simon McCormick (nine points) landed one of his three 3-pointers with 4:15 left in the game. Then Clark’s defense went on a campaign to restrain Bates’ offense.

Clark (2-0) started closing in on Bates after sophomore guard Isaiah Taylor hit a 3-pointer, dropped in a pair of free-throws and junior guard Mikey O’Brien made a layup to make it a 60-59 game with 2:09 left.

The Cougars tied it up with 1:02 left on Bruce Saintilus’ (14 points) foul shot.

Taylor went on to make three free throws down the stretch to help put Bates away. But the Bobcats did have chances at the foul line, but missed all four free-throws toward the end of the game.

Taylor went 10-for-16 from the charity stripe and amassed a game-high 29 points to go along with three 3-pointers. Teammate Reid Neumann had 12 points for the evening.


“I felt great,” Taylor said. “I felt like my teammates got me in good position that we work on everyday in practice. I felt no matter (if we were) up or down, we were playing hard, so our effort outshined everything today.”

Jahmir Primer scored 10 points for Bates.

Clark coach Tyler Simms tipped his hat to Furbush and the Bobcats.

“First, Jon  does a great job,” Simms said. “I said it to him there at the end (about) the last two games they probably led 78 out of 80 minutes last year and then this year. He just has a great program. They are really tough and they put us in a lot of hard situations. 

“It probably came down to a couple of plays, where our guys stepped in and made a couple of shots and then we finished defensive rebounds on the other side.”

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