Road show: A Bowdoin-Middlebury split

BRUNSWICK, Maine — One closely contested game turned into a blowout and the other was put away nice and neatly at the end as the No. 6 Middlebury men pulled away from Bowdoin and the Bowdoin women went on a huge second-half run to the return the favor to the Panthers.

For the Middlebury men, it took a little bit of time to get adjusted when Bowdoin went to a zone defense, while for the Bowdoin women, sorely in need of a NESCAC win, it might have been a key second-half rebound that sparked it.

This is as far into Maine as I’ll get on this trip. I stopped at University of New England on the way up, bypassed Southern Maine (sorry!) and Colby and Bates are further up the coast, but I knew I was pretty far East when the sun went down before 5 p.m. in February. A friend reminds me that, of course, the sun rises awful early, but I won’t be around for that.

I could say more, but instead, I’ll let Middlebury senior guard Nolan Thompson and Bowdoin women’s coach Adrienne Shibles talk instead. They’re my interview subjects from tonight.

Road show: An extra stop in Maine

University of New England's Harold Alfond Forum. (UNE athletics photo)

University of New England’s Harold Alfond Forum. (UNE athletics photo)

I have five official stops on my itinerary, but want to do as much as I can to see other schools as well, as long as I made the trip all the way out here. My official schedule has me in Brunswick, Maine, to see Bowdoin host Middlebury in a doubleheader.

Earlier in the afternoon, however, I dropped in on University of New England women’s basketball coach Anthony Ewing, who didn’t have much forewarning I might be stopping by. On Thursday, I did a short drive-by at Tufts to see their renovated gym and met Bob Sheldon and said hello to Carla Berube, but didn’t put either of them on video, knowing I’d see them again.

Biddeford, which was just a 15-minute detour off the interstate, was on my way from Boston to Bowdoin. They have a brand-new facility, including a 900-seat ice hockey arena and a 1,200-seat basketball arena. And UNE is 16-4 in women’s basketball. And they were on my radar because Sports Information Director Curt Smyth sent me a link to a feature story in the Portland newspaper. And I’ll let Ewing tell you the rest:

Road Show: Hoops in Worcester

Clark's Kneller Gym.

Clark’s Kneller Gym.

WORCESTER, Mass. — The last time I was in Worcester was a long, long time ago. It was November 2006, to be precise, when I saw Nichols and WPI play in Becker’s tiny little gym. That night, Ryan Cain was just starting his senior season, and he didn’t have the best of nights, going 5-for-14 from the floor and 0-for-6 from downtown.

These days, Cain is an assistant coach at WPI, and he and head coach Chris Bartley and fellow assistant Billy Gibbons are here to scout Clark (and perhaps Rhode Island College as well). When I reminded him that that was the last time I was here, he remembered right away: “That wasn’t my best night.”

Not that it mattered — his team won handily that night and Cain went on to win the Jostens Trophy. But while Cain is an assistant coach at his alma mater, he is definitely putting his degree to good use, working at an environmental engineering firm.

The Engineers, who I will also not see on this trip, have beaten Clark already and have to play the crosstown Cougars again to end the NEWMAC schedule. They’ve also beaten Rhode Island College already this season, and tonight RIC defeated Clark 74-63. Clark was within 3-5 points most of the game, trailing by three as late as 5:40 left before the Anchormen put the clamps down.

I talked with Bob Walsh after the game: