BIDDEFORD, Maine — Down by one with 90 seconds to go in the game, the Bates men’s basketball team knew exactly what to do.
They got the ball to senior Marcus Delpeche (Wilmington, Del.) in the post and the big man took care of business. He drew a foul and drained both free throws to give Bates the lead for good in a 71-68 victory over the University of New England Nor’easters Monday night.
Delpeche, coming off a career-high 29 points, tallied yet another double-double on Monday. He finished with 10 points and a game-high 14 rebounds. Meanwhile senior Malcolm Delpeche (Wilmington, Del.) continued his excellent play as well, notching 12 points and pulling down 10 boards while blocking four shots.
But sophomore Max Hummel (Glastonbury, Conn.) stole the show with a career-high 22 points to pace Bates (3-1) on the evening.
The Bobcats made hay with their free throw opportunities, draining 22 of 28 free throws compared to nine made free throws in only 12 attempts for the Nor’easters.
Hummel drained a three with 3:43 to go in the game to put Bates up 67-63. But the Nor’easters responded with a Gavin Dibble jumper to cut the Bobcat lead to two with 3:19 remaining. Then Daron Hoges Jr. nailed a three to give UNE a 68-67 lead with 1:51 left.
That’s when Marcus Delpeche sinked his two free throws to put Bates back on top. Dibble missed a three on the other end and Malcolm Delpeche grabbed the rebound. Bates missed a three of their own with 36 seconds to go and UNE had another chance to take the lead. But Dibble missed a layup with 16 seconds remaining and junior Justin Zukowski (Portland, Maine) secured the rebound. He got the ball to Hummel and the Nor’easters fouled the sophomore to send him to the free throw line.
Hummel drained both free throws to extend the lead to three with 14 seconds to go and Drew Coveney’s three at the buzzer fell short, clinching the narrow win for Bates.
The first half foreshadowed the frantic finish with the teams trading blows in a close back-and-forth contest.
Malcolm Delpeche’s layup tied the game at 13 with 12:47 to go in the first half and Hummel followed that up with a jumper to put the Bobcats up 15-13. Then with 11:16 left in the half, senior Quin Leary (Auburn, Maine) knocked down a three to extend the lead to 18-13.
Another Malcolm Delpeche jumper put Bates up by seven with 8:36 to go but the Nor’easters responded with a 6-0 run to cut the Bobcat lead to 20-19. Marcus Delpeche’s jumper made the score 22-19 in favor of Bates with 6:08 to go. UNE had an answer though courtesy of Jean-Luc Parker. His three-pointer tied things up at 22 less than a minute later.
Then the Nor’easters went on an 8-2 run, culminating with a Sam Thomas dunk with 4:16 to go, giving UNE a 30-24 lead.
The Bobcats responded with a 6-0 run of their own, led by senior co-captain Jerome Darling‘s (Hartford, Conn.) four made free throws.
The teams traded points down the stretch of the first half, with Bates finally taking a 38-37 lead into the locker room at halftime thanks to three more Darling free throws after he was fouled on a three-point attempt as time was about to expire.
The Nor’easters (1-4) opened the second half hot, taking a 50-41 lead with 14:56 left in regulation.
But Bates went on a 12-1 run to take a 53-51 lead on a pair of free throws from first-year Tom Coyne (Falmouth, Maine) with 10:59 to go.
A pair of Hummel free throws briefly gave Bates an eight-point lead with 7:08 left, but the Nor’easters refused to go away.
UNE’s 14-5 run down the stretch that culminated with Daron Hoges Jr’s made three-pointer put Bates’ backs to the wall.
But luckily the Bobcats’ ability to hit free throws all game turned out to be the difference.
Bates visits Babson Wednesday for a 7:00 p.m. tip.