NESCAC Quarterfinal: No. 5 Trinity 71, No. 4 Bowdoin 67 (3OT)

NESCAC Quarterfinal: No. 5 Trinity 71, No. 4 Bowdoin 67 (3OT)

Courtesy of Bowdoin Sports Information

BRUNSWICK, Maine
- In the first triple-overtime game in NESCAC Tournament history, the Trinity College men's basketball team survived Bowdoin 71-67 on Saturday evening at Morrell Gymnasium.

The fifth-seeded Bantams (15-10) advance to the NESCAC semifinals for the first time since 2011, where they will face top-seeded Amherst next Saturday. The fourth-seeded Polar Bears (19-5) rallied from 14 down with 14 minutes to play, and trailed in every overtime session before eventually succumbing to the Bantams.

Jaquann Starks sparked Trinity to the win, scoring a game-high 21 points and connecting on 4-8 from three-point range. His running lay-in with 48 seconds remaining in the third overtime gave the Bantams the lead for good. George Papadeas scored 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for Trinity while Shay Ajayi had 11 points and 11 boards in the win.

Bowdoin was led by 19 points from John Swords, who battled foul trouble all day and finished with 19 points and 12 rebounds to go with three blocks. Bryan Hurley supplied 12 points off the bench while Lucas Hausman and Andrew Madlinger finished with 11 apiece. The Polar Bears will await word on a possible at-large bid when the NCAA Tournament field is announced on Monday, March 3.

The Bantams took advantage of early Swords foul trouble, and cold shooting by Bowdoin, to hold a 25-19 lead at halftime. The visitors extended their lead to as many as 14 points in the second period, 39-25, following a Rick Naylor three-pointer with 14:04 to go.

Bowdoin chipped away at the lead, using a 19-3 run over a 10-minute span to take their first lead since the opening minutes. The Polar Bears drew even on a Swords lay-up with five minutes to go and took the lead, 44-42, on a pair of Swords free throws on their next possession. Sparks answered with a three-pointer to regain the lead for Trinity and the teams traded buckets until the final moments when, trailing 52-50, Lucas Hausman's fast break lay-in tied the game for Bowdoin and sent the game into the first overtime.

The teams played the first overtime to a 6-6 draw as both teams missed potential game-winning shots and went into the second extra session tied at 58. In the second OT, Madlinger hit an immediate three-pointer for Bowdoin, only to see Trinity score the next six points and take a 64-61 lead on a pair of Ajayi free throws with seven seconds remaining. Hurley answered for the Polar Bears, however, connecting on a dramatic buzzer-beating three-pointer to send the game to a third overtime.

Madlinger gave the Polar Bears a brief 67-66 lead in the third OT, but Starks regained the lead for Trinity with a lay-in with 48 seconds remaining. After a defensive stop, Starks hit one free throw to make it 69-67 Trinity with 34 seconds on the clock. Swords saw a potential game-tying shot roll off the rim and Trinity extended the lead to 70-67 on a Papadeas free throw. Hurley made a bid for another dramatic game-tying three-pointer, but it rimmed out and Hart Gliedman sealed the win at the charity stripe for the Bantams.

In a battle of the top two defensive teams in the NESCAC, the Bantams came away with the win despite shooting just 36% from the field, but took advantage of 18 offensive rebounds to notch 26 second-chance points. The Bantams also connected on 18-37 (48%) from the free-throw lane in the win.

Bowdoin struggled mightily from long-range, hitting just 6-34 shots from three-point range. The Polar Bears finished at 33% shooting for the game and attempted just 13 free throws in the loss.