BRUNSWICK, Maine - The Bowdoin College men's basketball team jumped to an early lead and held off a second-half rally to defeat Wesleyan 63-54 on Saturday afternoon at Morrell Gymnasium.
The unbeaten and 24th-ranked Polar Bears improve to 12-0 (2-0 NESCAC) while the Cardinals drop to 6-7 (0-2 NESCAC).
Bowdoin was paced by four players in double figures, headlined by Andrew Madlinger's 16 points. John Swords posted a double-double with 12 points and 12 boards to go with four blocks, while Keegan Pieri also tossed in 12 points and Matt Mathias notched 11. Harry Rafferty scored 13 points to lead the Cardinals while Joe Edmonds tossed in 11 for Wesleyan.
Bowdoin opened the game with an 8-0 spurt, capped by a Madlinger three-pointer that forced an early Wesleyan timeout just two minutes into the contest. The Cardinals chipped away at the Bowdoin lead, closing to within two points, at 16-14, following a Rashid Epps layup with 9:30 remaining in the opening half.
Bowdoin rolled off a 15-0 run over the next nine minutes, holding the Cardinals scoreless as John Swords scored six points in the surge. Harry Rafferty stopped the bleeding for Wesleyan, hitting a three-pointer with 30 seconds left in the period. But Bowdoin replied with another Madlinger three-pointer at the buzzer to carry a 34-17 edge into the break.
The Polar Bears extended their lead to as many as 19 points following another Madlinger trifecta with 12:17 to go in the second half before Wesleyan mounted their charge.
An Edmonds three-pointer sparked an 8-0 Wesleyan surge to trim the lead to 48-40 with 7:41 to go. After Bowdoin pushed their lead to double digits again, a 7-0 Wesleyan run, capped by a Tim Gallivan hoop-and-harm, cut the Bowdoin edge to six points with 26 seconds remaining. But the Cardinals could get no closer as Bowdoin hit three late free throws to seal the victory.
The Polar Bears connected on 45% of their shots in the win while the Cardinals hit 35%. The teams were dead even in rebounds (34-34) and turnovers (13-13), for the contest.
Bowdoin will return to the court on Friday night at Williams (8:00 p.m.) while Wesleyan will host Amherst on Tuesday evening at 7:00 p.m.