Bangor, ME – Husson men’s basketball hosted the Bates Bobcats in a non-conference match-up on Tuesday night at Newman Gymnasium. The 13-1 (7-0 North Atlantic Conference) Eagles picked up their first loss of the year, as Bates (9-6, 1-2 NESCAC) ran away with a 79-58 victory.
The two teams played a close, scrappy, defensive game, remaining within a basket or two of each other for the opening ten minutes. Bates took the biggest lead of the game at 30-25 off a long-range three-pointer from Graham Safford (Hampden, ME). The Bobcats extended the lead to 33-25 with 1:53 remaining when Safford fed Mike Boornazian (Portland, CT) for a three of his own, but the Eagles cut the lead to four and headed into halftime down 33-29.
Boornazian led both teams with eight first half points for the Bobcats. Overall, the Bates team shot 60.9 percent from the field in the first half and 55.6 percent from behind the arc, while Husson went 13-for-30 (43.3 percent) from the field and 3-for-9 (33.3%) on three-pointers. Brooks Spaulding (Fairfield, ME) led Husson with seven points, two rebounds, one assist, and one steal in the opening half.
In the second half, Trevon Butler (Waterbury, CT) had the opening basket of the half for the Eagles, and the game remained close. Husson took back the lead at 40-39 with 13:05 remaining in the half off a jumper from Spaulding. Bates responded with a three-pointer from Adam Philpott (Gloucester, MA) and pulled away to a 46-40 lead. Donte Cottonham (Silver Spring, MD) kept the Eagles close with a three-pointer to make it 48-44, but Bates responded with a quick jumper from Sean Cunningham (Amherst, MA) and a three from Boornazian to extend their lead to 53-44.
With just under four minutes remaining in the half, Bates led 65-52. A basket from Philpott from beyond the arc made it 68-52, followed by a jumper from Luke Matarazzo (Shelton, CT) that increased the Bobcats’ lead to 18. Bates continued to pull away for the last few minutes and closed out the game with a 79-58 win.
Safford finished up with a game-high 17 points and eight rebounds for the Bobcats. Matarazzo, Boornazian, Delpeche, and Philpott all finished with double-digits scoring figures for Bates, as well, and Cunningham had a game-high seven assists. Spaulding led the Eagles with 14 points and 6 rebounds. Butler and Leighton also contributed double scoring figures to a Husson offense that struggled to a 37.3 field goal percentage (22-for-59) and 27.8 percent three-point shooting percentage on the night. Bates ended the night shooting 63 percent (29-for-46) from the field and 52.9 percent from behind the arc, which proved to be the difference.
“We didn’t play well, but we gridded the game pretty well to stay close through 33 minutes,” said head coach Warren Caruso. “I’ll give Bates credit that they controlled the game very well and put us away in the last minutes. We will learn from this loss and become a better team.”
Husson will travel to Vermont to take on North Atlantic Conference opponents Johnson State and Lyndon State over the weekend. Bates will next play at Tufts on Saturday.