January 23, 2018
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Second-half surge gives Terriers win over Bears

Bridget Brown | BDN
Bridget Brown | BDN
Jake O’Brien (21) of Boston University plays keep away from Maine guard Gerald McLemore in the second half of Sunday afternoon’s game at Alfond Arena in Orono. B.U. won the game 73-62.

ORONO, Maine — A tale of two halves didn’t have a happy ending for the University of Maine men’s basketball team as Boston University rallied from an 18-point deficit to notch its fourth straight win over the Black Bears.

The Terriers didn’t take their first lead in Sunday afternoon’s game at Alfond Arena until there were 12 minutes, 9 seconds left to play, but they held it the rest of the way and led by as many as 13 before notching a 73-62 victory.

“I’m very proud of my kids. It’s been a hellacious week for us,” said BU coach Dennis Wolff. “We’ve had four games since last Saturday, including a double-overtime and four-overtime game, and when Maine got us down early, we could have caved in and we didn’t.”

The 10-9 Terriers (5-2 in America East) also lost starting point guard Tyler Morris and junior guard Carlos Strong of Portland for the season with knee ligament injuries recently, but they still won all four games.

“This was definitely a big win for us because we had a pretty brutal week,” said freshman forward Jake O’Brien, who teamed with sophomore guard John Holland to scorch the Bears from the 3-point line in the second half.

“I wanted to come out and be more aggressive with my shot,” O’Brien said. “I think I just found my groove and was just shooting whenever I caught the ball.”

O’Brien hit four of seven 3-point shots in the second half and five of 10 overall for a career- and game-high 24 points.

Holland, who shot 3-for-9 overall in the first half (1-for-3 from 3-point range), canned three of four 3s and scored 15 second-half points for 23 total.

“You’ve got to keep putting it up there even if they’re not going in,” Holland said with a broad smile about how he caught fire after halftime. “You still have to have the confidence to think that eventually, hopefully, they’ll start going in.”

The Terriers’ 12-for-28 barrage from 3-point range overcame Maine’s edge in inside scoring (30-24 on points in the paint) and bench points (15-3).

Although Maine’s bench was more productive, it was held scoreless in the second half.

“I don’t know we were as consistent tonight throughout our team as we can be,” said Maine coach Ted Woodward, whose Bears are now 8-12 overall and 3-4 in AE games. “We’ve played better recently with everybody, but you can’t get that every time.”

Junior guard Mark Socoby of Houlton led the Bears with 16 points. He also had five rebounds. Sophomore forward Sean McNally of Gardiner had 10 points and eight rebounds, only two of which came in the second half.

“One of the biggest changes I saw [after halftime] was they were sagging off Junior [Bernal] a lot and that was kind of clogging up the middle with our penetration into the lane,” McNally said. “By doing that, it caught us off guard and hurt us.”

The Terriers also switched from zone to man-to-man.

“The spots I was looking to pass to weren’t there, so I had to go to Plan B a lot,” said Maine point guard Bernal. “We tried to push the ball whenever we got a chance, but the missed shots they had which got us in transition in the first half weren’t being missed in the second half.”

BU outshot Maine 53.3 percent to 33.3 from the field overall in the second half and 46.6-38.3 in the game. After committing five turnovers in the first half, they had three in the second to Maine’s eight (10 total). They also scored 13 points off turnovers to Maine’s six.

Corey Lowe was held below his season scoring average but still totaled 15 to go along with a game-high nine assists and two steals. Matt Wolff dished out another seven of BU’s 20 assists. Maine had 11 total.

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