Men suffer season-ending upest
With a win each from games earlier in the season, the Bates and Bowdoin Men's Basketball Teams were looking to settle the score in the first round of the NESCAC playoffs. The two teams broke the tie on Saturday with the win going to Bates.
The intensity was at peak level for both squads who played in front of a boisterous crowd that over packed Morrell Gymnasium on Saturday. The contest began with a series of scoring exchanges that established an early tie game. A Bates turnover then led to a Bowdoin fast break that was led by Kyle Petrie '06. He finished the break with a thunderous left-handed dunk to give Bowdoin its first and only lead of the game.
The Bobcats regained the lead with two three-pointers, but T.J. McLeod '04 connected on a pair of "oners" to trim the lead to a single basket. With exactly four minutes left in the half, Bates had established a 37-16 lead. After shooting slightly over 40 percent from the field, Bates entered the break up 45-20.
In the second half the Polar Bears came out with a short scoring spurt but still were not able to come close to the luck their opponents were having. In addition, Polar Bear Nation was challenged by oversized Bates fans that wore replicas of their team's jersey and chanted throughout the entire game. With the odds against them both on and off the court, the Polar Bears fell short of the Bobcats, who extended their lead to as many as 43 points in the second half before taking the 87-52 final.
Petrie and McLeod combined for 30 points and were the only Bowdoin players to score in double digits. The confidence level and expectations coming into this game were the same as always for the men. "There was no doubt that we would win the game; I guess I was wrong," said Jonathan Farmer '03.
"We were unable to work as a cohesive unit," said McLeod. "Our strength all year was our ability to play team basketball and we failed to do that."
The men end their season with a record of 16-9, 6-4 in NESCAC play. Coach Tim Gilbride is proud of his team's accomplishments and has admired their hard work all season. "This year's team was a fun group to coach," said Gilbride. "Our success is directly connected to the great job T.J. and Jon have done as leaders of the team."
Although basketball has come to a devastating end for the team's two senior co-captains, their lives and goals for the future do not end here. "With hoops over I will be focusing all my attention on academics, and after graduation I plan on signing with an agent and entering the NBA draft," said Farmer.
He has expressed his desire to pursue basketball as a profession to his family, friends, and teammates. "What NBA team doesn't need a slow undersized forward with limited range and suspect ball handling; I think I have a good chance to get picked up early in the second round."
Farmer is noted most for the seriousness that he brings to the court. His teammates say that he is very intense and knows how to get the team fired up. In one word, teammate Sean Walker '05 describes Farmer as "roid-rage." Antwan Phillips '06 describes both Farmer and McLeod as "semi-urban."
McLeod is an emotional and enthusiastic leader as well. He looks forward to his final season on the baseball team this spring and after graduation plans to attend graduate school with the aspiration of becoming an athletic director.
"I am very pleased with our team's success," he said. "On a personal level, I feel as if I should still receive national player of the year honors." McLeod secretly admits that he is aware that this award traditionally goes to players who are exponentially better than him.
McLeod is genuinely amiable and as a result his teammates are able to connect with him on a level beyond basketball. "TJ has always pushed me to be better as we have guarded each other in practice," said Walker. "He's a great competitor who has forced me to raise my level of play."
Since the start of the season, Farmer and McLeod have practiced good habits and have set great examples for the younger members of the team. "T.J. and Farmer are great vocal team leaders," said guard Eli Maitland '06. "When I see how hard these guys work on the court, it inspires me to do the same."
"They are the hardest working players at practice and it sets the tone for the rest of the team," added point guard Kevin Bradley '07.
It is evident that Farmer and McLeod have touched many lives and will be missed. They both will miss Bowdoin as well and will continue to have high hopes for the basketball program.
"I had a great time this year and I know that with the guys returning and a few key recruits, Bowdoin basketball will again be at the top of the NESCAC next year," said Farmer.
McLeod said that it has been a dream to play college basketball. "Each and everyday our team pushed each other to make ourselves better," he said. "There won't be a day that goes by when I won't reminisce on how much I loved playing basketball here at Bowdoin."
For information on sending a letter to the editor, please click here.
Features Opinion A&E Sports