ORONO, Maine — The way offensive production was scarce against the University of Maine men, the University of Maine-Presque Isle Owls must have felt more like Spotted Owls Thursday night.
Field-goal attempts were limited as the NCAA Division I Black Bears got off to a blistering start, shot a scalding 50.5 percent from the field and never looked back en route to a 126-50 victory over Division III UMPI at Alfond Arena.
Eight UMaine players scored 10 points or more, led by Ryan Martin’s career-high 20 points. The freshman guard from Wayne hit six of 10 3-pointers and also dished out five assists.
“My teammates did a good job of finding me in the open court and they set some good screens to give me some open looks,” said Martin. “Once I hit one, it kept getting easier and easier.”
Sophomore forward Troy Barnies was one of four Bears with a double-double as he finished with 16 points and a game-high 20 rebounds.
“I feel like in some games I can do more than what I do, so I kind of wanted to unleash everything I could do today and I feel like I did that,” Barnies said.
Junior Sean McNally of Gardiner also had 12 points and 11 boards, Junior Bernal added 16 points and 10 rebounds, and Svetoslav Chetinov added 10 points and 15 rebounds.
The 4-4 Black Bears outrebounded the Owls 34-12 on the offensive end and 73-31 overall while outscoring UMPI 70-16 in the paint and 34-16 in second-chance points. Maine also outscored UMPI 47-2 in points off turnovers.
“It all starts with our point guards. Andrew [Rogers] did a great job along with Junior [Bernal] of pushing the ball up,” said Maine coach Ted Woodward. “When our guys get high outlets and we’re able to push the ball up the court, it makes defenses change the way they play.”
Rogers dished out a game-high 10 assists and Bernal added five.
“We had so many threats on the perimeter and it was so hard for them to defend us with us moving the ball around so quickly,” Martin said. “We got a lot of easy looks.”
Ronald Spencer led the 0-3 Owls with 20 points while freshman Ben Rosser of Caribou had 14. Leading scorer Ray Mitchell was held to five points, but led the team with eight rebounds and four assists.
“In the first half, he was just trying to do too much,” said UMPI coach Terry Cummings. “In the second half, he let things come to him, played under more control and then found open guys when the defense was coming after him.”
The Bears dealt the Owls a 1-2 knockdown punch combination in the first half, first from long distance by canning four of their first six 3-point attempts to help spark a game-starting 11-0 run, and second from inside as Barnies began attacking the post to lead a relentless rebounding effort.
Barnies scored four baskets to fuel a 21-0 run that gave the Bears a 59-15 lead with 3:50 left in the half.
“We talked about our execution. It was push, position, perfect, produce,” Barnies said. “We feel like we did most of that and played very well overall.”
Maine committed just five turnovers to UMPI’s 21 and held the Owls to 26.6 percent shooting from the field.
Maine scored 11 of the first 13 points in the second half and went on a 14-0 run late, but Cummings was much more satisfied with his team’s offensive execution in the second half.
“We did much better in the second half of running our offensive sets, but in the first half, we were too tentative or timid,” Cummings said.