BANGOR — After Husson University went on the biggest scoring run late in Thursday night’s game, the Colby College men did what they had to do: Answered it with an even big-ger one to end it.
Colby’s White Mules out-scored Husson 9-0 in the final 3 minutes, 51 seconds to rally for a 77-71 victory at Newman Gymnasium.
Senior guard Artie Cutrone scored five points in the pivotal run en route to 18 overall to lead the 8-3 Mules past the 3-8 Eagles.
“We got the defensive stops and hit the offensive glass a lot harder,” said Cutrone, who also dished out seven assists. “The biggest thing was our defense.”
As far as Husson coach War-ren Caruso was concerned, it was a combination of things.
“We didn’t stop and we didn’t score in the last 3½ minutes, and that’s not a good combination,” Caruso said.
The Mules’ run answered an 8-0 Husson run that gave the Eagles a three-point lead with 3½ minutes left in as tight a basketball game as it gets. The game featured 10 ties, nine lead changes, and neither team lead-ing by more than six points at any time.
Both teams shot well, but the Mules shot much better: an eye-rubbing 58.6 percent (34-for-58) to Husson’s 44.6 from the field.
Colby also enjoyed a slight edge on the boards, outre-bounding the Eagles 33-29 over-all. It was there and another statistical area Colby coach Dick Whitmore pointed out that made the difference in the game.
“We had something like 11 turnovers and then four in the second half and that made a big difference,” said Whitmore, who notched his 597th career coaching win.
The other key factor was the play of junior forward Adam Choice, who followed up an almost statistically invisible first half in which he had no points and no rebounds with six boards and 13 points in the second.
“I’m playing a different position this year, out on the wing instead of down low, and some-times I get lazy and don’t crash the boards as high,” Choice said. “At the half, I knew I needed to start getting more involved.”
It wasn’t a game of major adjustments as both teams used their inside scoring and inside-out offensive attacks with success, but two in particular — one offensive and one defensive — seemed to pay off for Colby.
First the offensive:
“On our big men like Mike Russell, they were doubling on them every single time so we were trying to get it down real quick and kick it right back to the man who passed it to him,” Choice said. “And then we’d swing it around for open 3’s if he wasn’t open.”
Second, the defensive:
“They’re a real quick team and in the first half, we were picking them up fullcourt and they were getting by us a lot and getting to the paint and kicking it back out,” Cutrone said. “In the second half, we picked them further back around the 3-point line and that really made a difference.”
Russell wound up with 15 points and eight rebounds. Justin Sherman had 11 to round out Colby’s top scorers.
Junior forward Matt MacKenzie of Warren led the Eagles with 23 points and six rebounds. Junior guard Brock Bradford of Kenduskeag had 14 points and seven assists.
“We’re used to going out and pressuring people, but Brad-ford’s a great player and we weren’t able to do that so we backed off a bit,” said Whit-more.
Freshman guard Daeshawn McMorrin came off Husson’s bench to score 14 points and make three steals in 21 minutes. Jay Uhrin of Winterport had 10 points and six boards.