Hartford, Conn. – Junior guard Rick Naylor (Sudbury, Vt.) scored 13 of his 16 points after halftime and four in overtime to lead the Trinity College Bantams to a 67-66 win over the visiting Bowdoin College Polar Bears in New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) men’s basketball action this evening on Ogrodnik Court in Oosting Gymnasium. Trinity improves to 15-5 overall and takes over sole possession of first place in the league with a 5-1 league mark. Bowdoin drops to 13-5 overall and 4-2 in the NESCAC with its first loss in five games. The teams have played four overtimes in their last two games against each other, as the Bantams earned a 71-67 win in triple overtime at Bowdoin in the 2014 NESCAC Quarterfinals. Trinity hosts league Colby tomorrow at 3 p.m. in its final home game of the regular season, while the Polar Bears visit Amherst tomorrow at the same time.
Trinity trailed, 58-52, with 5:40 left in regulation after a layup by Polar Bear senior center John Swords (Sudbury, Mass.), but fought back and took a 62-61 lead on a three-pointer from the right corner by Naylor with just under two minutes on the clock. Bowdoin senior co-captain guard Bryan Hurley (Watertown, Mass.) tied it at 62-62 from the foul line with his second of two, after recording the only Polar Bear missed free throw of the night on his first attempt. Bowdoin had the ball with 36 seconds left, but the Bantam defense forced a shot-clock violation after one of five rejections inside by sophomore forward Ed Ogundeko (Brooklyn, N.Y.). Junior guard Jake Donnelly (Williston, Vt.) stole the ball for Bowdoin with five seconds left, but Trinity junior forward Shay Ajayi (Brooklyn, N.Y.) blocked the potential game-winner by Polar Bear junior guard Lucas Hausman (Westport, Conn.) as time expired.
In overtime, Naylor scored back-to-back on two short jumpers for a 66-62 Bantam lead with 3:11 left to play, but Hausman made a pair of free throws to finish 13-for-13 from the line in the game, to pull the visitors back to within two. Ogundeko grabbed an offensive rebound, his 12th board of the night, was fouled on the put-back, and made one of two to extend the Trinity lead to 67-64, and Bowdoin rookie Liam Farley (Chicago, Ill.) made a jumper from just inside the arc on the right wing to make the score, 67-66, with 48 seconds remaining. Bowdoin forced its own shot-clock violation, thanks to a block by junior forward Matt Palecki (Southborough, Mass.) on the ensuing Trinity possession, but Bowdoin fumbled the inbounds pass at half court after a timeout and Hurley was forced to shoot a desperation heave from there that bounced away off the backboard and the rim.
Bowdoin had led for the majority of the first half, although never by more than five points, as Hausman poured in 17 points before the break to stake the visitors to a 32-28 lead. Swords added eight points and Palecki had seven, accounting for all the Polar Bear points at halftime. Junior guard Jaquann Starks (Hartford, Conn.) led the Bantams with 11 points at intermission, as Trinity shot just 34.5 percent from the floor but made five of its 11 attempts from long range. Trinity tied it briefly at 32-32 less than a minute into the second half on two free throws each by Ajayi and Starks, but Hausman snatched the lead right back on a drive and the Polar Bears built their lead back up to 47-39 at the 14:55 mark on two free throws by sophomore forward Jack Hewitt (Scarsdale, N.Y.). Two buckets inside by Ogundeko and a pair of Naylor treys gave the lead back to Trinity at 52-47 with 9:21 on the clock, but Bowdoin answered with an 11-0 run to go ahead, 58-52, before Trinity’s final comeback.
Starks matched Naylor with 16 points for Trinity, as the pair combined to go 8-for-13 from long range, and both added three assists, while Ogundeko finished with 13 points to go with his game-high 12 rebounds and five blocked shots, and junior guard Andrew Hurd (Windsor, Conn.) dished seven assists. Hausman led all scorers with 30 points, while Swords totaled 13 points, nine boards, and four blocks, and Hurley registered nine points, six rebounds, and seven assists for Bowdoin. Trinity made 11 three-pointers in 26 attempts and enjoyed a 52-to-32 rebounding advantage, while the Polar Bears made 18 of their 19 free throws, but missed six of seven field-goal attempts in overtime.