BALTIMORE — Gerald McLemore hit three straight 3-pointers to fuel a 16-0 scoring run by the University of Maine men in the second half that put the University of Maryland Baltimore County away early Monday night.
Maine’s sophomore guard hit seven of 10 3-pointers and eight of 12 shots overall en route to a game-high 25 points as he helped the Black Bears blast UMBC 84-63 at RAC Arena and avenge an upset loss to UMBC 10 days earlier.
Maine’s second straight win improved its record to 16-8 overall and 8-3 in America East conference play. The Black Bears are now tied with Vermont for second place, just a half game behind Stony Brook University.
The Retrievers, who had won three straight against Maine, are now 2-22 (1-10).
“I’m sure it was something that was on our guys’ minds, but we just wanted to learn from last weekend’s game,” said Maine coach Ted Woodward, referring to a 56-55 loss to UMBC on Jan. 30.
Junior forward Sean McNally had 12 points and eight rebounds for the Bears. Guard Junior Bernal and freshman forward Murphy Burnatowski each had 11 points and eight rebounds. Bernal also dished out five assists, as did junior guard Terrance Mitchell.
Maine, which shot 43.8 percent from 3-point range, outshot the Retrievers 53.3 to 41.1 percent from the field.
“Our offense came off our defense, and we played together and passed the ball well,” Woodward said. “I think it was our aggressiveness and how we played, regardless of who the shots came for.
“We were scoring easy points off transition with our defense and pushing the ball.”
After taking a 34-21 lead into halftime, the Bears used the big run midway through the second half to put the game away and take a 70-36 lead with 7:16 to play. Maine’s largest lead was 38 points (76-38) with 5:56 left.
Matt Spadafora led the Retrievers with 14 points while Chris De La Rosa and Chauncey Gilliam each finished with 10 points. De La Rosa also dished out a game-high nine assists.
Maine’s eight conference wins are the most it has had since the 2004-05 season. Its 16 wins are the most for the program in six seasons.
The Black Bears committed 17 turnovers to UMBC’s eight and was outscored 25-12 in points off turnovers, but offset that disadvantage with a big effort in the paint.
Maine outrebounded UMBC 16-5 offensively and 47-20 overall while outscoring the Retrievers 42-18 in the paint and 19-3 in second-chance points.
“That’s something we’ve been working on,” said Woodward. “We thought we did a decent job on the boards against Binghamton. We attacked the boards on both ends.”