LEWISTON, Maine -- The difference in Saturday's NESCAC men's basketball between Amherst College and Bates College proved to be little more than the difference in reach between Amherst junior Joseph Schneider and everyone else.
The 6-foot-10 center went off for 24 points, ten rebounds and three blocked shots, as the visiting Mammoths pulled away from a two-point deficit with under eight minutes remaining to win 80-61 in Alumni Gym. His second half stat-line consisted of 22 of those points, nine rebounds, and two blocks. The scoring total was more than double his previous career high.
Amherst (14-7, 5-3 NESCAC) outrebounded Bates (11-12, 3-6 NESCAC) by a 50-27 margin, including 27-11 in the second half. The Mammoths exploited their height advantage for a 20-0 difference in second-chance points (14-0 in the second half) and 52-20 in points in the paint (32-10 in the second half).
Bates had the lead as late as with 7:26 left in the game, after Jeff Spellman's fast-break layup made it 58-56, but Amherst responded with 14 straight points over the next five minutes, powered by four offensive putbacks and an assist by Schneider, who was able to simply outreach every Bobcat for every loose ball around the basket.
Bates sophomore Tom Coyne stemmed the run with a 3-pointer, but Amherst answered with an alley-oop dunk by Schneider on a feed by Johnny McCarthy '18, making it 72-61 with 2:13 left in the game. Bates then began fouling the Mammoths to slow the game clock, but Amherst made all six of its free throws down the stretch. Grant Robinson '21 fed Schneider for a layup in the closing seconds of the game for the final margin.
First-year forward Fru Che totaled 13 points and 11 rebounds off the bench and led Amherst in assists with three while shooting 6-for-8 from the field. McCarthy chipped in 11 points and seven rebounds.
Bates sophomore Kody Greenhalgh scored a team- and season-high 17 points off the bench and sophomore Nick Gilpin added 15 points. Spellman scored seven points and led the Bobcats with eight rebounds.
Greenhalgh and Gilpin made two 3-pointers apiece in the first 10 minutes of the game as Bates built a lead as high as 11 (21-10). Che scored three straight buckets and Robinson sank a jumper to cut it to 21-17 with 9:12 to go in the half.
Greenhalgh's third three of the half, following a pair of free throws by Gilpin, put the Bobcats back ahead by six, but Amherst closed out the half with seven straight points, five by Eric Sellew '20, for a 36-35 halftime advantage.
The score was tied five times and it changed hands six times in the second half before Schneider and the Mammoths pulled away at the end.
Bates hosts Trinity College next Friday at 7pm in its regular-season finale. Amherst travels to Wesleyan for a non-conference (Little III) game on Tuesday at 7pm.