LEWISTON, Maine – Senior Andrew Madlinger scored a game-high 20 points to lead No. 24 Bowdoin College men's basketball to a 75-49 win over Bates College on Friday night at Alumni Gymnasium.
With the win, the Polar Bears (19-3, 6-3 NESCAC) clinch a home quarterfinal game in the NESCAC Championship on Feb. 22 while the loss eliminates the Bobcats (11-12, 1-8 NESCAC) from qualifying for the tournament.
Madlinger shot 7-of-17 from the floor in pacing the visitors. Junior Keegan Pieri netted 11 points, classmate John Swords posted 10 points and eight rebounds, and senior Matt Mathias had 10 points. For the hosts, first-year Marcus Delpeche notched his second double-double of the season on 10 points and 13 rebounds.
The Polar Bears shot more efficiently from 3-point distance, 54.5 percent on 12-of-22 shooting, than from the field overall – 45.6 percent on 26-of-57 shots.
Neither team held a lead larger than three points over the game's first 10 minutes until Bowdoin junior Bryan Hurley hit a three-pointer to give the Polar Bears a 19-13 lead with 9:39 left in the half. Back-to-back dunks from Delpeche and Swords highlighted the game's opening stretch.
Bates remained within 24-22 at the 4:54 mark of the first half before Bowdoin closed the opening stanza on a 15-2 run to bring a 39-24 edge into the locker room. Pieri accounted for eight of the streak's points on a pair of 3-pointers and a layup.
The Bobcats trimmed their deficit to 39-28 off a Delpeche dunk just less than three minutes into the second half, but the Polar Bears responded with an 11-1 spurt to take a 50-29 advantage with 13:49 to play.
The teams traded baskets over the next several minutes with a Swords slam off an alley-oop pass from senior Grant White providing the highlight of the night and giving Bowdoin a 61-39 lead with 7:21 remaining. The Polar Bears pushed their lead to as large as 29 points, 71-42, with 3:45 to play.
Bowdoin will close out its regular season at Tufts on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. The Polar Bears will be looking to reach the 20-win plateau for just the second time in school history.