BOWDOIN COLLEGE forward Lucas Hausman dribbles to the hoop during a NESCAC game Friday against Bates at Morrell Gymnasium Hausman scored 44 points in a 98-70 win.

BOWDOIN COLLEGE forward Lucas Hausman dribbles to the hoop during a NESCAC game Friday against Bates at Morrell Gymnasium Hausman scored 44 points in a 98-70 win.

BRUNSWICK

Crunch time was closing in on the Bowdoin men’s basketball team. Holding a record of 5-3 (15-6 overall) and sitting at No. 4 in the New England Small College Athletic Conference going into Friday’s matchup against No. 2 Bates (17-4, 6-2 NESCAC), the Polar Bears needed a win to have any chance of a higher seed.

After getting a 71-51 nonconference loss handed to them at Bates’ Alumni Gymnasium back in early December, the Polar Bears returned the favor, routing the Bobcats 98-70 at Morrell Gymnasium.

“I thought we played very well on both sides of the ball tonight,” Bowdoin head coach Tim Gilbride said. “On defense I thought we stayed 100 percent focused. Bates has a great basketball program and I don’t think they shot as well as they’re capable of.”

“This win was huge,” junior guard Lucas Hausman said. “Bates is a really good team. They’re wellcoached and they have a lot of really strong players. The mindset coming into this game is that it was going to be a battle as it is every time that we play them.”

Getting the win wasn’t the only story of the night as Hausman, fresh off his NESCAC Player of the Week honors, made history as he unleashed a 20-for-25 performance from the field for 44 points to tie former Polar Bear Bill Fraser’s performance back in 1954, coincidentally enough against Bates.

“I’ve just been trying to do what coach says,” Hausman said. “Attacking and trying to be aggressive on offense and today the shots were falling for me. I’m just trying to get in the lane and make things happen as much as I can and it’s worked out for us so far.”

“He is an unbelievable player,” Gilbride said. “He has the innate ability to drive to the basket. He’s also very sneaky too. He has that spin move that allows him to make a quick turn and take a shot, especially with those 10-foot jumpers.”

“He’s got a really quick first step,” senior captain Bryan Hurley said of his teammate. “He’s really good at getting out on the transition. If we get the ball out to me quick enough off the rebound, he’s usually out there and I’m able to hit it to him ahead. He’s money in transition when it comes to finishing. It doesn’t matter if there’s two guys trying to stop him, he’ll be crafty enough to get it up and in there somehow.”

Bates’ only lead of the game was held for just over a minute when Mike Boornazian hit a jumper to make it 5-4, but Bowdoin gained control and had no thoughts of looking back. Though the Polar Bears didn’t put together any substantial runs in the first half, their 19-for-34 performance from the field compared to the Bobcats’ 9-for-26 helped lead the way to a 48-33 finish.

In the second half, the Polar Bears unloaded, starting with an 11-1 run to jump ahead 59-34, followed by another spurt of 9-3 just minutes later to take hold of a commanding 72-42 advantage.

“This semester we’re just a totally different team than last semester,” Hurley said. “We’ve changed up a lot of our offensive stuff with our injuries (to co-captain Keegan Pieri), and obviously Lucas has been playing unbelievable. He’s been scoring the ball well lately, no one seems to be able to cover him.”

“I think everyone had a little bit of a chip on their shoulders coming into this one,” Hausman said of his team’s early-season loss to the Bobcats. “We had a lot of students here and it was a great atmosphere. We didn’t want to win just because, we wanted to come out and take the win and that’s what we did.”

Clutch finishing

With Friday’s win moving the Polar Bears to 6-3 in the conference, a victory in their final conference matchup against Tufts on Saturday meant securing a NESCAC Quarterfinal game this coming Saturday at 2 p.m.

Bowdoin answered the call, coming out with a 57-54 win over the Jumbos.

The Polar Bears, who improved to 7-3 (17-6 overall), locked in the second seed and will host No. 7 Williams (14-9, 5-5 NESCAC) in the quarters.

Tied at 51 apiece with under two minutes to play, Liam Farley’s running shot resulted in goaltending against Tufts, giving the Polar Bears the lead for good. The Jumbos had a chance to tie with under a minute to play, but a turnover gave the Polar Bears the ball with 42 seconds to play. Hurley hit an off-balance jumper in the lane to extend Bowdoin’s lead to 55-51 with 12 seconds to go. Tufts quickly pushed the ball downcourt and trimmed the lead to 55-54 on a Tarik Smith 3-pointer with six seconds remaining, but Hurley hit a pair of free throws and Tufts was unable to get off another shot as the Polar Bears clung to victory.

Hausman led all players with 16 points. Farley had 14 points off the bench for Bowdoin, including four important 3-pointers in the opening half. John Swords had 10 points and 15 rebounds for the Polar Bears.


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