ORONO — It was another fun-filled episode of “One-and-Done, Then Have Some Fun,” Sunday afternoon at Alfond Arena.
The University of Maine played strong defense, controlled the rebounding and exhibited its offensive balance to register a 78-57 men’s basketball victory over Colgate.
Coach Ted Woodward’s Black Bears (5-5) won their third consecutive contest with a well-rounded performance.
UMaine limited the Raiders (0-9) to 38 percent shooting, outrebounded the visitors 41-26 and placed five players in double figures while hitting 49 percent of its shots.
“I was pleased with our guys coming out of finals, (showing) good focus and carrying the momentum from last week to this,” Woodward said.
“I was pleased to see us play together and be able to shoot the ball, rebound and play defense the way we did,” he added.
UMaine performed well in all three areas right from the outset while building a 20-4 lead 8 1/2 minutes into the game. The Bears extended their advantage to as many as 23 points in the half.
“We want to go into every game rebounding and leading on the boards,” said junior guard Gerald McLemore, who hit five 3-pointers on his way to a team-high 15 points and grabbed five rebounds.
“That’s a big key, because whenever you get them one-and-done, there’s less chances for them to score,” he added.
Freshman Alasdair Fraser led the Bears with seven rebounds, while the other nine regulars who logged at least 10 minutes grabbed two or more. UMaine asserted itself both on the boards and in the paint on the offensive end.
“We knew coming into the game that was going to be a big key, the physicality of these guys,” said Colgate coach Emmett Davis.
“They built a nice lead in the first half and they really pounded us on the backboards,” he added.
The Bears, who had played quite a bit of 2-3 zone in their previous two games, relied mostly on man-to-man in this one. Colgate opened the game shooting only 2-for-14 (14 percent).
UMaine responded by going 9-for-19, including two 3-pointers by McLemore (5-for-9 on 3’s) and another by Terrance Mitchell (4-for-5) to build the early lead. Mitchell wound up draining four 3’s in a span of 4:07 as the Bears ended the suspense early.
UMaine was able to execute its half-court offensive sets crisply and was rewarded with open shots.
“If we take the first available shot, it might be open, but it’s not always the best shot,” McLemore said. “If you pass the ball around a few times, the defense is going to tire, they make mental mistakes and we’re able to get the ball inside-out and score layups or clean 3’s.”
McLemore and Mitchell combined to shoot 9-for-14 from 3-point range in the first half and the team was 11-for-20 (55 percent).
UMaine’s early surge included a three-point play by Raheem Singleton, Troy Barnies’ pump move in the lane, a 3-pointer by McLemore off an inbounds play, Fraser’s offensive rebound bucket and, after a rebound hoop by Colgate’s John Brandenburg, another McLemore 3-pointer that elicited a timeout by Davis.
UMaine received 13 points from Murphy Burnatowski and 10 points each from Fraser and Barnies. Seven Bears notched at least two assists, led by four from Andrew Rogers.
With the help of some UMaine turnovers, Colgate finally established some offensive flow in the second half. Sterling Melville’s hoop from underneath capped a 9-0 run that trimmed the Bears’ lead to 52-42 with 12:59 to play.
The Raiders scored 23 points off UMaine’s 15 turnovers.
However, Fraser and Burnatowski scored four points each to spark a 14-3 surge that put the hosts up 66-45 with 7:51 remaining.
“I was happy that our guys weathered the storm and made some plays when they had to,” Woodward said.
Pat Moore led Colgate with 13 points.
UMaine returns to action Tuesday at 5 p.m. against Penn State of the Big Ten Conference at University Park, Pa.