GORHAM, Maine – Junior John Swords scored 25 points and grabbed 16 rebounds to lead the Bowdoin College men's basketball team to a 67-56 win over the University of Southern Maine Huskies Tuesday night at Hill Gymnasium.
With the win, Bowdoin is off to its best start in program history and stands at 5-0 this season. The Huskies fall to 4-3 with the loss. The win also marked head coach Tim Gilbride's 400th career victory in 29 seasons with the Polar Bears. Gilbride is just the second active NESCAC coach to have 400 victories to his name and is the 37th active D-III coach to reach the plateau. He owns a 400-290 overall record as head coach of the Polar Bears.
Swords was nearly unstoppable in the paint connecting on 12-of-13 shots while using his 7-0 frame to haul down nine offensive rebounds. Senior Andrew Madlinger and junior Keegan Pieri each scored 10 points.
Southern Maine senior Tyler Penney led the Huskies with 17 points on 8-for-12 shooting. Sophomore guard Cole Libby added 14 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals in a solid all-around game. Senior forward James Odneal tossed in 10 points and had six rebounds and four assists.
Trailing by 11, 40-29, with 17:11 left to play, USM pulled to within a possession of the Polar Bears with a 9-0 run. A three from Libby kick-started the Huskies' push, and was followed by a layup from Penney. Libby scored his fifth points of the run on a driving layup, before Penney closed out the run with an easy two off of a feed from Odneal for a 40-38 Bowdoin lead with 12:17 to play.
Bowdoin countered with a run of its own, however, with seven straight points, including back-to-back layups from Swords to hold a modest 47-38 lead with 9:29 on the clock. The Huskies again rallied to claw their way back to within a possession with a 6-0 run to trail 47-44, but the Polar Bears put the game away with a 10-2 run of their own. Swords started and closed the run with offensive rebounds and the put-back for a 57-46 Bowdoin lead with 4:05 to play.
The Huskies were unable to get any closer than seven points the rest of the way as Bowdoin made six of eight free throws in the final 1:30 of action.
Bowdoin will return to action Friday night at home against Bates in Morrell Gymnasium at 7:00 p.m.