BRUNSWICK, Maine - Matt Mathias hit a running 30-footer just before the buzzer to give the Bowdoin College men's basketball team a thrilling 74-71 win over Bates Friday evening at Morrell Gymnasium.
The shot capped a wild final 12 seconds of regulation, as the teams combined for 10 points in a frantic finish. With the win, the Polar Bears improve to 6-0 for the first time in program history while the Bobcats drop to 6-2 overall.
Bowdoin carried a slim 37-36 lead into halftime and the game was tied at 52 apiece as it entered the final 10 minutes. The Bobcats used a quick spurt, sparked by a dunk from Malcolm Delpeche, to roll off a 11-2 surge that gave the visitors a commanding 65-56 lead with 4:10 to play.
The Polar Bears replied with a 11-1 run of their own, drawing to within a bucket following a jumper by Lucas Hausman with 1:50 remaining. Following a Bates turnover, Grant White buried a three-pointer from the baseline to give Bowdoin a 67-66 lead with 1:08 to go.
Bates immediately answered with a lay-in from Graham Safford, who banked in a go-ahead bucket to give the Bobcats a 68-67 edge with 32 ticks on the clock.
Bowdoin returned downcourt and, with time running down, Mathias found Hausman in the corner for a three-pointer to give Bowdoin a 70-68 edge. Hausman, who was fouled on the play, netted the free-throw to give the Polar Bears a 70-68 edge with just 12.3 seconds remaining.
Safford again answered for the Bobcats, launching a long three-pointer from the left wing to tie the game, 71-71, with under five seconds to play as the game seemed destined for overtime. But Mathias took the inbound pass, scampered down the court as the clock ticked down and launched a shot from 30 feet that splashed through the net to give Bowdoin the unlikely win.
Mathias finished with four three-pointers in the contest and ended with 14 points for the game to go with five assists. John Swords led Bowdoin with 18 points and 12 rebounds. Hausman and White also finished with 14 points each for the Polar Bears, who nailed 11 three-pointers on the night.
Bates was led by its usual 1-2 combo of Mike Boornazian and Safford. Boornazian ended with 20 points and 12 rebounds while Safford had 22 points and three assists. The stats were virtually dead-even with Bowdoin holding a 32-30 edge in rebounding and connecting on 49% of their shots as opposed to 48% for the Bobcats.
The contest was the non-conference match-up between the teams, who will battle in Lewiston in the NESCAC conference game on February 14.
Bowdoin will return to action tomorrow at Colby at 4:00 p.m. Bates will return to action at the Salem State Holiday Classic on December 29.