BRUNSWICK — Even with a 19-point lead and just over 10 minutes left in the game, Bowdoin men’s basketball coach Tim Gilbride knew the lead wasn’t safe. Not against a rival like Colby.

“It’s two teams that are going to keep playing right until the very end, and they shoot so well, you know it’s going to be a game of runs,” Gilbride said. “It’s more what’s happening right at the end than any leads throughout the game.”

While the Mules cut their deficit to five points in the final minute, Bowdoin held on for an 83-77 win. The victory improved Bowdoin to 12-4 overall, 2-2 in the New England Small College Athletic Conference. Colby dropped to 10-6, 1-3.

“I thought we ground out some stops in the last 10 minutes trying to get ourselves a chance to climb back into the game. Digging a hole always makes how well you have to play to finish it extremely challenging,” Colby Coach Damien Strahorn said.

A key for the Polar Bears was the play of sophomore David Reynolds, who scored a career-high 29 points and was 6 for 9 from 3-point range.

When Bowdoin needed a big basket, more often than not it came from Reynolds.

Colby cut the deficit to nine points with six minutes to play when Reynolds hit a 3 to make it 74-62. The Mules then closed to within 74-68 with three and a half minutes left, but Reynolds answered with a layup.

“He’s been playing pretty well all year, and probably this semester has come into his own,” Gilbride said. “Today was probably just a continuation of what he’s been doing for us. We went to him in some key times.”

The game was tied 19-19 midway through the first half before the Polar Bears went on a run to open a 46-33 lead by halftime. Bowdoin shot 51.6 percent from floor in the first half, while Colby shot 31.4 percent. Strahorn also pointed to eight first-half turnovers as crucial mistakes for the Mules.

“Offensively, we’ve been pretty good all year. I thought some of our turnovers, we were trying to do too much 1-on-1. The ball was probably being overdribbled tonight a little too much. The lack of movement to clean shots shows up in that 31 percent,” Strahorn said.

The Polar Bears continued to dominate early in the second half, and a 3-pointer from Jack Bors gave Bowdoin a 64-45 lead with 11:15 to play.

Gilbride said his team was too careless with the ball down the stretch, contributing to Colby’s rally. Bowdoin finished with 20 turnovers, while Colby had 15.

“To (Colby’s) credit, they put a lot of pressure on you up top. It’s hard for you to do what you want to do and execute as well,” Gilbride said.

Hugh O’Neil had 11 points and 11 rebound for Bowdoin, while Zavier Rucker added 13 points and five assists. Jack Simonds also scored 11 points.

Alex Dorion led Colby with 18 points off the bench, making six 3-pointers. Sam Jefferson scored 16 points.

For Bowdoin, the win avenged an 89-84 loss to Colby in a nonconference game in Waterville on Dec. 2.

“I actually think both teams have improved,” Gilbride said. “I thought we did a better job defensively in this game, especially in half court when we were set. They got some things in transition at times, and we had a couple breakdowns late.”