ORONO — The University of Maine men’s basketball team will play 12 regular-season home games on its home court at Alfond Arena.
Coach Ted Woodward’s Black Bears got their first opportunity to get re-acclimated to the floor and the atmosphere during Sunday’s annual Blue-White scrimmage.
Approximately 150 fans turned out to watch UMaine during a competitive session that included two 15-minute periods and a seven-minute extra session, with running time except for the last two minutes.
“When you get a chance to get over into your game arena, lights come on, you hope you see some carryover (from practice),” said Woodward, whose team has a home exhibition game Saturday at 3 p.m. against Cape Breton.
“It’s a really good experience to play where we play every game,” said senior Troy Barnies of Auburn, who contributed nine points, seven rebounds and a blocked shot. “Getting to play against each other in front of our fan base, it’s really fun.”
The men’s team played alone this season as women’s basketball coach Cindy Blodgett recently canceled the women’s Blue-White scrimmage because a handful of players are injured or rehabilitating injuries.
The UMaine men showed off several lineups while going head to head in a game setting.
“I wanted to see different combinations. I wanted to see how some of those things looked with each other,” Woodward said. “I do think our guys competed pretty hard, for the most part.”
Woodward’s veteran squad demonstrated plenty of defensive intensity, playing man-to-man throughout.
“We definitely take pride in our defense,” Barnies said. “That’s the No. 1 thing we want to be known for in our conference.”
There was some drama during the final seven-minute segment as senior guard Terrance Mitchell scored five points in the last 46 seconds to rally the Blue team from a five-point deficit to a 24-23 win.
“We’ve been working on some new things during practice and tried them out today and they looked kind of good,” Barnies said.
It was the first chance for junior transfer Raheem “Radio” Singleton and freshman Alasdair Fraser to demonstrate their skills for the home fans.
Singleton, who will share playing time at point guard with junior Andrew Rogers, led all scorers with 14 points, including three 3-pointers.
“He was attacking, I thought he made some good shots,” Woodward said. “He’s a physical kid. He can shoot it. He gets to spots.”
Fraser, a 6-foot-7 forward from Scotland, contributed eight points and four rebounds while battling UMaine’s veteran frontcourt players.
“He’s a big kid. He’s hard to guard and he’s going to help the team a lot this year,” Barnies said.
UMaine shot 32 percent (23-for-72) from the floor, including 8-for-28 on 3-pointers, and converted 21 of 26 free throws.
“The execution’s always going to be kind of stagnant when you’re playing against your teammates,” Singleton said. “Everybody knows the plays, everybody’s cheating, so you’ve just got to find a way to get through it.”
Mitchell finished with 12 points, sophomore Murphy Burnatowski provided 10 points and five rebounds and senior Sean McNally of Gardiner added eight points and seven boards.
“There’s going to be a lot of weapons. It’s going to be tough to guard us defensively,” Singleton said.
Junior guard Gerald McLemore, the team’s top returning scorer, was limited to two points on 1-for-6 shooting.
Blue-White Scoring Summary
McAllian, Singleton 4-3-14, Rogers 1-0-2, Fraser 3-2-8, Wilcher 1-0-2, Mitchell 2-7-12, Barnies 4-0-9, McNally 2-4-8, Burnatowski 4-0-10, McLemore 1-0-2, Peay 1-1-3, Allison 1-4-6, Chetinov
3-pt. goals (8-28): McAllian 0-2, Singleton 3-6, Rogers 0-2, Fraser 0-1, Mitchell 1-3, Barnies 1-4, McNally 0-2, Burnatowski 2-6, McLemore 0-2