Maine’s tough defense shuts down Bearcats

Posted Jan. 10, 2010, at 11:02 p.m.

VESTAL, N.Y. — Junior guard Terrance Mitchell came off the bench to hit 15 of 18 shots from the foul line en route to a game-high 22 points while leading the University of Maine men to a 66-61 overtime victory over Binghamton University here Sunday afternoon.

Mitchell, who also grabbed five rebounds, scored seven points — five from the foul line — in overtime to help give Maine its first America East conference victory of the season.

With 1:22 left in regulation, Binghamton held a 53-50 lead, but junior forward Troy Barnies of Auburn scored his only hoop of the game with 50 seconds left on a tough layup and Mitchell drew a charge on the opposite end to give Maine the ball back with 22 seconds left.

Sean McNally was fouled and made one of two free throws to tie it up with nine seconds left. Binghamton could not convert the last shot and the teams went to overtime.

In overtime, the Bears made just one basket, but went 11-for-14 from the line.

Maine head coach Ted Woodward credited his team’s defensive effort — a mix of zone and man-to-man with more zone being played in the second half — for outlasting the Bearcats down the stretch.

“There were a lot of defensive situations down the stretch where we got some stops, so I don’t know that there was just one key play overall,” he said. I don’t remember the last team to shoot 40 percent or more against us. Defense has been our more consistent factor all season.”

The Black Bears, now 9-6 overall and 1-1 in AE play, got huge contributions from their bench as Mitchell and freshman forward-center Mike Allison combined for 37 points.

Binghamton got off to a great start with a 7-0 lead in the game, but Allison came off the bench to score nine straight points with a dominant performance in the paint. Allison would finish with 15 points, five rebounds, and a block.

Junior forward McNally of Gardiner also had a solid game for the Bears with 11 points, seven rebounds, three steals, two assists and a block.

Maine’s Junior Bernal chipped in with eight points, six rebounds, three steals and two assists.

The two teams had dismal shooting days from 3-point range as they combined to go 8-for-56 from 3-point range.

Moussa Camara led the Binghamton 6-11 (1-1) Bearcats with 18 points. Greer Wright had 13 points and 12 rebounds to go with three assists. Chretien Lukusa had 10 points and Mahamoud Jabbi finished with 11 rebounds, six points, five blocks and three steals.

Maine outrebounded the Bearcats 43-42 and outshot them from the field 39.1 to 32.1 percent.

Maine leading scorer and sophomore guard Gerald McLemore was held to two points — 13 below his scoring average — on 1-for-10 shooting from the field.

“We have a number of guys who can score from a number of different spots,” Woodward said of his squad’s depth. “If you take one of our guys away, it’s probably going to open things up for somebody else and they were obviously extending Gerald out a lot and making him a focus on defense.

“And it helps that we used a lot of subs and that kept our guys fresh even going into overtime.”

bdnsports@bangordailynews.net

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