Maine men's basketball cruises to home opener win

BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Austin Howard led 12 Maine scorers with 19 points as the University of Maine men's basketball team handed UMaine Presque Isle a 96-45 loss on Saturday afternoon at the Cross Insurance Center.

Howard finished the game a remarkable 7-for-7 from the floor, including knocking down 4-of-4 from 3-point range. The freshman guard was joined in double-figures by three other Black Bears. Ilker Er tallied 15 points and seven rebounds and Andrew Fleming finished with 14 and six boards. Marko Pirovic added 12 points and a game-high nine rebounds.

Maine was dominant inside, finishing with a 52-27 advantage in rebounding and outscoring the Owls 30-8 in the paint.

The Black Bears were impressive from the field, shooting 58.1 percent in the second half, of which it outscored UMPI 56-25, and finishing the game 31-for-61 (50.8 percent). Maine knocked down 14-of-31 from beyond the arc and 20-of-28 from the free throw stripe.

Maine began at a rapid pace, racing out to a 10-2 advantage just under four minutes into the half.

UMPI answered with an 11-2 run to take its first, and only, lead of the ballgame, 13-12, at the 13 minute mark.

Er's 3-pointer put Maine back on top seconds later and jump started a lengthy 15-1 Maine run which ended with the Black Bears lead stretching to 28-14.

After a 3-pointer by UMPI's Maurice Harris, the Black Bears closed the half riding a 13-3 run. A late floater as time expired from Jaquan McKennon gave Maine a 40-20 lead at the break.

The game seesawed over the opening three minutes of the second half until Maine's offense took flight again. Leading by 18, Maine rattled off nine-straight points, capped on a triple from Er, to advance the lead to 51-24.

UMPI was able to fight back briefly, chipping the Maine advantage to 23.

However, Maine put the game away with an extended 39-10 run which saw it take its largest lead of the game (52), 90-38, with just under four minutes remaining.

Maine continued to roll, gliding its way to a 96-45 victory.

The Black Bears are back in action on Wednesday, Nov. 30 when they host Central Connecticut State at 7 p.m.

Copyright 2016 WCSH


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