LEWISTON, Maine – Senior guard Eric Prue (Auburn, Maine) poured in 22 points to lead Wentworth Institute to a 66-55 victory over the Bates College men's basketball team on Sunday, in the final game of the Bates Tipoff Classic. Wentworth posted a 2-0 record in the three-team tournament and improved to 3-0 on the season, the first time the Leopards have started 3-0 since the 1996-1997 season.
Prue shot 6-of-10 from behind the arc en route to scoring a third of the Leopards' points and earning tournament MVP honors. Senior Adam Dombrowski (Dunstable, Mass.) added 11 points for Wentworth and earned all-tournament honors. Two other Auburn natives and graduates of nearby Edward Little High School also pitched in; junior Corey Therriault had 12 points, six rebounds and a pair of blocked shots, and freshman Bo Leary grabbed three rebounds. Other key contributors for the Leopards were sophomore Davon Daniels (Paterson, N.J.), who made all four of his field goal attempts for eight points and six rebounds, and sophomore Derek Mayo (Casco, Maine) and senior Matt Harte (Troy, N.Y.), who handed out five assists apiece.
Bates (1-1) freshman guard Graham Safford (Hampden, Maine) scored a team-high 14 points to go with five rebounds and a pair of steals for Bates. Junior Mark Brust (Duxbury, Mass.) scored 12 points and won all-tournament honors as well, along with Maine-Fort Kent guard Jeremy Thomas. Senior John Squires pitched in 12 points and six rebounds. Junior Ed Bogdanovich (Portland, Maine) grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds and sophomore Luke Matarazzo (Shelton, Conn.) dished out five assists to go with three steals.
Bates struggled to hit shots for most of the game, finishing with a team field-goal percentage of .295 (18-61), including a .182 mark (4-22) from three-point territory.
Wentworth went on a 12-0 run and jumped out to a 24-10 lead over the first 12 minutes of the game. Prue scored eight straight points in the run, including back-to-back threes, and a pair of layups by Daniels made it 20-8. A jumper in the lane by Bates senior Kyle Philbrook (Auburn, Maine) interrupted the 12-0 run, but layups by Dombrowski and Daniels made it 24-10. Prue nailed another three with 2:12 left in the half and Dombrowski fought for a layup in the waning seconds of the half, sending the Leopards into intermission with a 31-19 lead.
Bates fought right back into the game, however, starting off the second half with a 12-2 run to cut the lead to 33-31, with 10 of those points coming from Brust. Brust hit a jumper to start off the period, then hit a pair of free throws. Matarazzo made a steal and fed Squires for a layup that cut the deficit to 33-25, and Brust then hit a pair of threes with 16:35 and 15:39 left to slice the lead to two.
The cold shooting made a reappearance after that, however, as the Bobcats missed six shots in a row. Then a Bates turnover was answered by a three for Therriault that gave Wentworth a 40-31 cushion with 11:51 to go, prompting a Bates timeout. The Bobcats scored six straight points with a a pair of free throws by Philbrook, a jumper by senior Will Furbush (South Portland, Maine), and a pair of free throws by Squires, cutting the lead to 42-37, but Prue caught fire again, hitting back-to-back threes, assisted by Mayo and Harte, to bump the Leopard lead to 48-37 with 7:40 to go. Christian drained a three for Bates, but Prue nailed yet another three with 6:26 left for a 51-40 lead.
Safford had only made one of his first eight shots in the game, but he made his next three, starting with a jumper in the corner with 5:30 to go. Safford made a three from the wing on Bates' next trip down, then got to the line on three of Bates' next four possessions, hitting five of six attempts to make it a four-point game, at 56-52, with 3:19 left. That was as close as the Bobcats would get the rest of the way, as they missed eight of their final nine shot attempts while the Leopards made 8 of 11 free throws over the last three minutes of the game.
Bates will play at Southern Maine on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.; Wentworth hosts the University of New England on Nov. 30 at 7:30 p.m., in the Commonwealth Coast Conference opener.
(Release Courtesy of Bates College Sports Information)