PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Jeff Xavier scored a game-high 23 points off the bench and made three steals to help the Providence College Friars hand the University of Maine men their first loss of the season, 83-62, Saturday afternoon.
Providence jumped out quickly, took a 50-32 lead into halftime, and shot a sizzling 50.8 percent from the field for the game en route to the victory.
The 3-1 Black Bears had four players score in double digits, as did Providence, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a hot start that gave the Friars a 25-9 lead.
“After that we got it down to 12 in the second half,” said Maine head coach Ted Woodward. “We knew rebounding would be an issue going in as they have tremendous size.
“They were very physical with us all day long.”
The 3-1 Friars outrebounded the Bears 38-28 and outscored them 38-30 in the paint. The biggest statistical discrepancy was in bench points, where Providence outscored Maine 42-21.
“They’re obviously a very good team with 13 returning letterwinners and everybody back from last year,” said Woodward.
Junior guard Mark Socoby scored 13 points despite constant defensive pressure. The Houlton native also had four steals and five rebounds.
“I thought we handled their pressure well and Mark did a good job despite the defensive targeting they did on him,” said Woodward.
Kaimondre Owes came off the bench to score 13 while Sean McNally of Gardiner and Junior Bernal each had 10. Bernal also dished out five assists.
Jonathan Kale scored 13 points while Geoff McDermott had a double-double with 12 points and 14 rebounds for the Friars.
“They’re a good team that I have a lot of respect for, but there are some things we could have done better. We’ve got a lot of growing still to do,” Woodward said.