ORONO — The University of Maine was a bit shorthanded for Saturday afternoon’s game against the University of Ottawa.
That simply mean Alasdair Fraser spent more time on the court, which was a good thing for the Black Bears.
The sophomore post player registered a game-high 21 points, 12 rebounds and five blocked shots to power UMaine to a 79-56 men’s basketball exhibition victory at Memorial Gym.
The 6-foot-7 Fraser scored 11 consecutive points to spearhead a 16-5 surge that turned an 11-point lead into a 65-43 advantage with 9:20 to play.
“I’ve always been like that,” said the soft-spoken Scotsman. “When I score one, I tend to score in bunches rather than throughout a game. When I got going, they just kept getting the ball to me.”
With forwards Mike Allison and Travon Wilcher among four UMaine players sitting out the game with injuries, Fraser logged 36 minutes and was a force down low.
The Bears also were without freshman guards Xavier Pollard and Noam Laish, which meant coach Ted Woodward was able to see some different personnel combinations.
“We had a lot of guys out today, so it’s nice that some other guys had a chance ot step up,” Woodward said.
“We had some different combinations that we haven’t really even had in practice,” he added.
Senior guard Raheem Singleton tossed in 20 points and dished out seven assists, forming a potent backcourt tandem trio with senior Gerald McLemore (19 points, two steals) and freshman guard Justin Edwards (11 points, four assists, two steals, two blocks).
Ottawa, which grabbed a 41-40 rebounding edge, was paced by 13 points from Warren Ward and 10 points and eight rebounds from Gabriel Gonthier-Dubue. Shamus Ferguson added nine points and seven rebounds.
UMaine spent much of the contest working out of a 3-2 matchup zone, which helped limit the Gee-Gees to 36 percent floor shooting. Ottawa went 9-for-21 (43 percent) from the foul line.
“We’ve been working the past week and half on it,” McLemore said. “That’s a new defense we’ve never played before in the past, so we really wanted to emphasize it.”
Fraser, who is nearly 30 pounds lighter than last season, was a handful for Ottawa. With the Bears leading 55-41, he hit a 14-footer from the baseline off an Andrew Rogers feed.
Ryan Malcolm Campbell scored from underneath for the Gee-Gees, but Fraser hit a reverse layup from the baseline and converted a spin move in the lane off a turnover. He followed with two free throws and Edwards scored a layup off his steal and a Singleton pass to push the lead to 22 points.
“We have some senior guards out there, (showing) great recognition about where they needed to go, what they needed to do, “ Woodward said of feeding Fraser.
The Bears led 37-28 at intermission, a lead forged by a strong start. UMaine built an early 15-3 advantage behind the play of McLemore, who hit two 3-pointers on his way to scoring eight of those points.
UMaine led by as many as 15 points (26-11), but Ottawa rallied a bit during the last nine minutes of the half.
Gonthier-Dubue scored six points off his strong inside play, while Ward added six with an inside-outside presence. However, the Gee-Gees couldn’t get closer than nine points.