The University of Maine (1-1) Men’s Basketball team dropped their opening game of the 2016-2017 season on the road against the Virginia Tech Hokies (1-0) on Friday night by the score of 80-67.
Maine’s third-year forward Ilker Er splashed an early three-pointer on the Black Bears’ first possession of the game to put Maine ahead 3-0. Unfortunately, the Hokies followed that up with a quick 7-0 run that put them on top 7-3 just two minutes into the game and they held that lead the entire game.
Following the fast-paced, back-and-forth action Virginia Tech took a 10-point lead going into the halftime break. Maine’s third-year guard Wes Myers came out of the gates on fire, netting five quick points of his own to cut down the Hokies lead to 39-34. This is as close as the Black Bears would get, as Virginia Tech proceeded to a 10-2 run following Myers’ five points. First-year center Vincent Eze made a layup to stop the bleeding at 51-36 with 14:00 remaining.
The Hokies went on another run and were up by 20 points in the blink of an eye with just 11:53 remaining in regulation. Virginia Tech had their largest lead of 25 points as it was 80-55 with 3:00 left. Maine didn’t give up though and put together a nice 12-0 run to end the game and make the loss look much more respectable at 80-67.
Myers was the only one who could get anything going as he led the way for the Black Bears with 18 points on 6-of-13 shooting from the field and 4-of-6 at the charity stripe. He also hauled in a team-high eight rebounds and added two assists. Third-year guard Austin Howard and Er each chipped in eight points respectively for Maine.
For the Hokies it was fourth-year forward Zach LeDay leading the charge with 20 points, 12 rebounds and two assists. LeDay shot 8-of-13 from the field and was a perfect 4-for-4 at the free-throw line. Second-year guard Ahmed Hill netted 14 points of 5-of-11 shooting. Second-year forward Chris Clarke contributed with 12 points and nine boards for the Hokies.
Maine will be looking to their second game on the road to get their first win of the season after playing a hard fought battle against the Hokies in which they competed much closer than expected.
Men’s Basketball wins first regular series game
The Maine Men’s Basketball team won 80-58 on the road against Longwood University (1-1) on Sunday.
Maine really put their foot on the pedal in the second half where they outscored Longwood 47-29 and shot 43.6 percent from the field. They also dialed in on seven three pointers in the second half.
Er scored a team-high 16 points on 6-for-12 shooting and 4-for-9 from beyond the arc. Myers played well again scoring 15 points and eight rebounds. Fourth-year forward Marko Pirovic played big for the Black Bears with 11 points and seven rebounds.
The first half of the game consisted of back-and-forth action that had 11 different league changes. Both teams were exchanging buckets at an even rate and Maine took a 4-point lead into halftime at 33-29.
It was a completely different story in the second half as it was all Maine from the get go. The Black Bears came out and put on a 10-0 run, taking the lead 43-29 and ultimately running away with it. Longwood never got within ten points of the Black Bears and it was smooth sailing the rest of the way. With 8:00 remaining the Black Bears were up by 19 points at 65-46 after a 9-0 Maine run.
The Black Bears shot 44 percent from the field opposed to Longwood’s 40 percent. That may not appear be much of a difference, but it is when they only hoist up 27 shot attempts to Maine’s 39 attempts. It was the Black Bears’ pestering defense that caused that, forcing 13 second half turnovers. Maine only had three turnovers in the second half, which allowed them to control the pace of play en route to their blowout victory.
Maine gets back to action next in the Steve Wright Classic at Boston University as they play the host Boston Terriers on Nov. 19 at 4:00 p.m. Longwood will travel to Nacogdoches, Texas to play Stephen F. Austin on Tuesday, Nov. 15 with a tip off scheduled for 10 a.m.