Men's Basketball Tops Bates in NESCAC Opener

January 4, 2013

Second-ranked Middlebury (10-0, 1-0 NESCAC) stayed undefeated, topping host Bates 59-56 in the NESCAC opener for both teams.  Bates (5-8, 0-1) kept it close throughout the contest, as the Bobcats never trailed by more than six, and had a chance to send the game to overtime on the game’s final shot.  

Joey Kizel had game-highs of 17 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals to lead the Panthers. Nolan Thompson and Jake Wolfin contributed 13 and 12 points apiece, with Thompson adding six boards and three assists. Thompson personally outscored Bates 8-3 over a four-minute stretch midway through the second half, including a trey that erased a 34-34 tie at the 11:42 mark and another at 9:49 that put the Panthers in front 40-35.

Graham Safford led Bates with 14 points, and Mike Boornazian added 12 points as the Bobcats stayed within six points of their rivals for the entire game. Boornazian made a pair of buckets and a pair of threes to lead Bates with 10 points in the half.

Kizel kept Middlebury going in the half with 10 points, two assists and two steals. After Bogdanovich made a baseline jumper to narrow the Panther lead to 42-41 with 7:41 left, Middlebury’s Peter Lynch fed teammate James Jensen for a layup. A three by Nate Bulluck, set-up by Wolfin, prompted a Bates timeout, with the Bobcats trailing 47-41 with 6:43 to play.

At 2:52, Bates’ Safford made a three from the corner, cutting the deficit to one for the final time at 49-48. Kizel set-up Wolfin for a crucial three, then answered a hard-driving lay-up by Safford with a 15-foot jumper to make it 54-50 with 1:15 to go. Kizel and Wolfin both made pairs of free throws for a 58-52 Middlebury lead. After a Bobcat bucket with 19 seconds on the clock, Bates fouled Wolfin, who missed the front end of a one and one. Safford drove hard to the hoop for a basket with eight seconds to go to make it a 58-56 Panther advantage.

Kizel was fouled with 5.9 seconds left. Going to the line for a pair of free throws, Middlebury’s best free throw shooter at 84 percent, who was 4-4 from charity stripe, missed his first shot. Kizel responded and made the second, but the three-point lead gave Bates one chance to tie the game as the Bobcats launched a desperation three-point buzzer-beater from the corner that sailed over the rim, giving the Panthers the 59-56 win.

Bates hosts No. 21 Williams tomorrow at 2pm, while Middlebury is at Tufts.