January 31, 2014

Men's Basketball Holds Off Trinity in Defensive Struggle

BRUNSWICK, Maine - The Bowdoin College men's basketball team survived Trinity in a physical battle at Morrell Gymnasium Friday night, 46-39.

The 19th-ranked Polar Bears improve to 17-1 (5-1 NESCAC) with the victory while the Bantams drop to 11-8 (3-3 NESCAC).

The 46 points scored by Bowdoin were the fewest scored by the Polar Bears in a victory since 1949 when the Polar Bears defeated the University of Maine, 42-33. The 39 points scored by the Bantams were a season low.

John Swords was the high scorer on the night with 11 to go with six rebounds and four blocks. Andrew Madlinger had nine points, seven rebounds and four assists for the Polar Bears while Matt Mathias also pitched in nine points for Bowdoin.

Trinity was led by George Papadeas, who had nine points and 11 rebounds off the bench. Jaquann Starks also had nine points for the Bantams, while Shay Ajayi had seven points and a game-high 12 caroms.

Both teams struggled to find their offensive footing as defense ruled throughout the contest. Bowdoin never trailed, and held a 21-17 edge at halftime. The Polar Bears used a 8-2 run out of the gate in the second half to push the lead to 29-19 with 15 minutes remaining.

The Bantams answered with a 10-3 run of their own, as five straight points from Ajayi trimmed the lead to 33-29 with 9:30 to go. Bowdoin replied with what turned out to be the game's decisive run, scoring seven straight points, capped by a Swords dunk, to take their biggest lead of the game at 40-29 with under five minutes to play.

Trinity cut the advantage to five points on four occasions over the final few minutes, but could get no closer as Bowdoin connected on five consecutive free throws down the stretch to clinch the win.

Both teams connected on 28% of their shots for the game and Trinity held a 49-36 advantage in rebounding. But Bowdoin turned the ball over just seven times in the game compared to 14 for Trinity, and the Polar Bears converted those directly into 12 points of their own.

The Polar Bears will host Amherst on Saturday afternoon while the Bantams will travel to Waterville to face Colby. Both games are scheduled for 4:00 p.m. tip-offs.