ORONO, Maine — Mark Socoby scored seven straight points during a critical stretch of the second half Monday night, helping the University of Maine earn a 67-56 men’s basketball victory over Colgate.
Coach Ted Woodward’s Black Bears fended off a strong charge by the Raiders as they crept over the .500 mark to 5-4 at Alfond Arena.
Houlton native Socoby, a junior guard, made a foul shot, a 3-pointer in transition and converted a conventional three-point play off a strong move to the hoop as UMaine turned a two-point lead into a 54-47 advantage with 4:02 to play.
Socoby finished with a game-high 21 points to go with four steals and three assists. Junior Bernal tossed in 17 points with six rebounds, while Sean McNally of Gardiner provided 13 points and six rebounds and Gerald McLemore 11 points.
Ben Jonson tossed in 15 points and hauled down 12 rebounds for Colgate, which dropped to 2-6 with its fifth straight loss. Mike Venezia added 12 points.
Colgate shook off an unspectacular first half and quickly made it a contest after intermission. Venezia scored eight points as the Raiders went on a 15-2 surge that sliced their deficit to 41-37 with 10:19 remaining.
McLemore hit a pair of big 3-pointers to extract UMaine from a drought of almost nine minutes without a field goal and provide some offensive energy.
UMaine’s defense was the story of the first half. The Bears held the Raiders scoreless for a span of more than 7½ minutes while scoring 12 unanswered points to take a 23-13 lead with 5:22 left.
The hosts eventually extended their scoring run to 24-2 covering 11 minutes as they manufactured a 20-point bulge on the way to a 35-19 halftime advantage.
UMaine opened up in a 2-3 zone and later relied mostly on man-to-man while holding Colgate to 32 percent (6-for-19) shooting from the floor. The Raiders also committed eight turnovers, most of them while trying to force the ball inside.
The Bears emerged with an 18-9 rebounding edge.
Bernal got UMaine into a better offensive flow while scoring seven straight points. He tipped in a miss by Troy Barnies of Auburn, then answered a layup by Colgate’s Alex Woodhouse by making a 6-footer in the lane.
Bernal kept the surge going with a three-point play off a penetration move, then McNally made a three-point play off a power move down low as the Bears made it 19-13 with 9:17 left in the half.
UMaine executed well at the offensive end, shooting 50 percent from the field behind a 4-for-5 effort from McNally. He, Socoby and Bernal tossed in 11 points apiece. The Bears piled up 18 points in the paint and also went 7-for-7 from the foul line.