No. 6 men's basketball posts easy NESCAC win over Bowdoin

Kena Gilmour '20 (Josh McKee photo)
Kena Gilmour '20 (Josh McKee photo)

Hamilton College's Kena Gilmour '20 poured in 23 points and the nationally ranked No. 6 Continentals cruised to a 77-42 NESCAC win against the Bowdoin College Polar Bears at Hamilton's Margaret Bundy Scott Field House on Friday night.

The Continentals (16-1, 3-1 NESCAC) held an opponent to less than 50 points for the third straight game. Hamilton's 18 steals helped force 26 Bowdoin turnovers. The Continentals held a 39-27 advantage on the boards and outscored the Polar Bears 42-20 in the paint. Hamilton went 20-for-24 at the free-throw line while Bowdoin attempted just six shots at the charity stripe.

Gilmour leads the conference with 20.5 points per game and is 23rd on the program's all-time list with 1,186 career points. He added four assists and four steals and was a perfect 7-for-7 at the line. Peter Hoffmann '19 chipped in 12 points and eight rebounds, and Andrew Groll '19 dropped in 10 points. Tim Doyle '19 scored nine points and Sayo Denloye '20 came away with four steals.

The Polar Bears (11-6, 2-3) shot just 33.3 percent from the field. Jack Simonds was the only Bowdoin player who scored in double figures as he finished with 11 points. Zavier Rucker added eight points and four steals, and Hugh O'Neil registered nine rebounds and two blocked shots.

There were three ties and seven lead changes during the opening 7:31 of the first half as neither team led by more two points. Hamilton trailed 13-12 with 13:18 left but the Continentals went ahead to stay with a 13-2 run over the next 4:25.

Spencer Kendall '21 started Hamilton's spurt with a layup, Denloye found Mark Lutz '20 for a basket in the paint off an inbounds play, and Gilmour drove in for another layup. After Rucker scored from close range, Michael Grassey '19 drained a 3-pointer and a jumper, and Hoffmann prompted a Polar Bear timeout with a layup that made it 25-15 with 8:53 remaining.

The Continentals' lead grew to 13 points at 30-17 after an old-fashioned 3-point play by Gilmour with 5:44 to go, but Bowdoin countered with eight straight points. Rucker found Simonds for a layup that pulled the Polar Bears within 30-25 with 2:09 left.

Hamilton responded by bridging the first and second halves with a 16-2 run that put Bowdoin away. The Continentals led 39-25 at the break and -- after Rucker opened the second half with a basket -- layups by Hoffmann, Gilmour and Doyle helped Hamilton go up 46-27 three minutes into the final half.

The Polar Bears didn't get closer than 17 points the rest of the way. A 3-pointer by Gilmour gave Hamilton its first 20-point lead at 49-29, and two free throws by Elliott Tirbaso '22 handed the Continentals their first 30-point cushion at 72-41.

Hamilton goes for its fourth straight win on Saturday, Jan. 26 when the Continentals host Colby College (14-5, 2-3) for another NESCAC game at 3 p.m.