STONY BROOK, N.Y. — Poor shooting plagued the University of Maine men’s basketball team Saturday afternoon.
The Black Bears struggled offensively in the first half and wound up going 8-for-24, or 33 percent, from the foul line in the contest as Stony Brook earned a 79-69 America East victory at Pritchard Gymnasium.
Coach Ted Woodward’s team got only 11 points on combined 4-for-20 shooting from starters Alasdair Fraser and Jon Mesghna as UMaine slipped to 8-12, 3-4 in conference play.
It was the 14th consecutive home victory in conference play for first-place Stony Brook (15-6, 6-1 AE), which built an early lead and wound up shooting 45 percent from the field in the game.
UMaine opened the game by going 2-for-14 from the floor and also committed six turnovers during the first eight minutes that led directly to 10 Stony Brook points.
Sophomore Zarko Valjarevic went 7-for-12 from 3-point range on his way to a career-best 21 points to spark UMaine. Classmate Justin Edwards posted a double-double with 19 points and 13 rebounds.
Edwards, who also contributed five assists and two steals, committed six turnovers and made only four of 14 free-throw attempts.
“Can’t believe I missed that many free throws I take responsibility for today’s loss, time to think about next game!” Edwards posted on his Twitter feed Saturday afternoon.
Sophomore Xavier Pollard returned from a one-game suspension to tally eight points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals. Fraser, a junior, wound up with eight points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots but was 3-for-13 from the field.
The Seawolves placed five players in double figures, led by 22 from Eric McAlister. Tommy Brenton churned out a triple-double with 15 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists, along with three steals.
Dave Coley netted 13 points, while Marcus Rouse and Anthony Jackson added 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Stony Brook seized the momentum early, using a 10-2 run to pull in front.
Jackson initiated the burst with a fast-break jumper, then McAlister scored off a UMaine turnover. Brenton added a free throw before Shaun Lawton countered with a layup for UMaine.
However, Coley scored a layup in transition and McAlister buried a 3-pointer off another turnover to give Stony Brook a 13-5 lead 4:05 into the contest.
The hosts went in front by as many as 13 points, but the Black Bears hung around and went into the locker room trailing 31-22 at halftime.
UMaine shot 30 percent (8-for-27) from the field in the half, including the 2-for-14 start.
The Seawolves made sure UMaine would have a much tougher comeback. McAllister scored four points, including two on a dunk at the 17:49 mark, as Stony Brook extended the margin to 40-22.
The Bears were never able to get closer than nine points (70-61 with 2:16 to play) the rest of the way.