Despite a late push, the Bowdoin men’s basketball team failed to rally against rival Bates in a 77-88 loss on Sunday at Morrell Gymnasium.
The game’s end result notwithstanding, first-year coach Alex Lloyd had praise for the way his team played down the stretch.
“I thought that our guys competed,” Lloyd said. “It was the first time we had our whole group together in a while and that showed over the course of the game in a couple of lapses in connectivity and some turnovers.”
Whereas the first half was far from ideal, Lloyd was impressed by the way the team closed the game, as they outscored Bates 47-41 in the second half.
“Our guys were locked in—it was terrific,” Lloyd said. “We had been down all game, fighting to make shots, but [we] hung in there, and toward the end managed to find a way where [we thought] if a couple [of] things [went] our way then we [would] have a chance to win that game.”
Unfortunately for the Polar Bears, Bates started strong, as they rained a barrage of three-pointers down throughout the first half. At halftime, the Bobcats held a commanding twelve-point lead over Bowdoin and had made eight three-pointers on 47 percent shooting. Bates’ outstanding shooting numbers combined with the team’s ability to force eight turnovers in the first half required Lloyd to consider making adjustments at halftime.
Instead of fully reverting away from the zone defense to start the second half, Lloyd focused on improving the system with his team at halftime.
“We talked through the things we thought we could do better in the zone,” Lloyd said. “We didn’t make a ton of adjustments … I thought our urgency and communication got a little bit better.”
Lloyd’s decision to improve the zone defense, as opposed to abandoning it, paid off. In the second half, Bates’ three-point opportunities all but disappeared, as the Bobcats shot a mere 15.4 percent from beyond the arc in the final half.
Lloyd credits his team’s commitment to improving communication with one another to the second-half defensive success.
“Our guys did a really good job talking through and figuring out some rotations in the zone,” Lloyd said. “They were better able to adjust to what Bates was doing and were able to take away those [three-point] opportunities.”
However, the in-game adjustments were not the only changes that the team had to acclimate to on Sunday. After being unable to play for over two weeks due to undisclosed reasons, leading scorer Michael Simonds ’24 made his return to Morrell Gymnasium. Despite only scoring five points, Simonds’ presence was felt in his return.
“It was great to have Mike back,” Lloyd said. “When we’re at our best, Mike does so much more for us than [score]. When we’re really good, he’s a great defender, he’s a great rebounder, and [his] presence for our team … makes everybody else’s life easier.”
With only one home game left on the schedule, Lloyd hopes to see Morrell gymnasium full for senior night on February 9.
“I hope that everybody comes out to our senior night game [next Wednesday],” Lloyd said. “It would be great to have great fan support for that one.”