Strong inside game propels URI men’s basketball team past Black Bears

Posted Nov. 08, 2013, at 9:38 p.m.
Last modified Nov. 08, 2013, at 10:55 p.m.

KINGSTON, R.I. — The Rhode Island Rams used a strong inside game to beat the Maine Black Bears 97-77 in a mutual men’s basketball opener Friday night.

The 97 points were the most for the Rams under head coach Dan Hurley. Rhody controlled the game throughout, never trailing and pushing its lead as high as 29 points.

Center Ifeanyi Onyekaba was dominant in the middle, posting a double-double in his debut for the Rams. Onyekaba finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds. He and forward Gilvydas Biruta (8 rebounds) helped Rhode Island enjoy a dominating 55-28 advantage on the boards.

Maine managed to shoot 41.8 percent from the floor, but was just 4-of-22 from beyond the arc. Xavier Pollard led the Black Bears with 23 points, while Dimitry Coronel had 18 points.

Zarko Valjarevic chipped in with 10 points for the Bears while Pollard also had four rebounds, two assists and two steals.

Former Jonesport-Beals standout Garet Beal earned the start in his first regular-season game for the Bears. He played 26 minutes, scored three points and grabbed a team-high five rebounds.

Erik Nissen added seven points for Maine and Marko Pirovic put in six.

Fouls hurt the Black Bears in the first half as the Rams tallied 18 points off of free-throw chances while they outrebounded the Black Bears 28-13 through the first frame.

In the second half, Pollard continued his hot hand as he recorded two early free throws and dashed down the court a few minutes later and registered a layup to cut the deficit to 56-41.

Akanda-Coronel diced in moments later and put in a layup of his own cutting the Rhode Island lead to 53-39.

The Rams took over after that, outscoring Maine 45-42 throughout the second half, bolstering their first half lead, to close out the game, 97-77.

Onyekaba was the big point producer for the Rams accounting for 11-second half points through that run.

Maine returns to action Sunday when its hosts Division III Fisher at 3 p.m. at Memorial Gym in Orono.

Women’s Soccer

Mills 5, UMPI 0

Fourth-seeded Mills College eliminated the No. 5 UMaine-Presque Isle Owls 5-1 in the Great South Athletic Conference women’s soccer quarterfinal round Friday.

UMPI jumped to an early lead on a goal by Nicole Cyr but the Cyclones responded with five unanswered goals.

Ashlyn Warny and Alex Miller each scored two goals for Mills, which advanced to a Saturday semifinal against No. 1 Wesleyan, a 3-0 winner over Trinity Washington.

Men’s Basketball

UConn 78, Maryland 77

Shabazz Napier collected 18 points, seven rebounds and seven assists before fouling out late as the Huskies held off a furious charge from the visiting Terrapins to take the season opener.

Niels Giffey scored 13 points off the bench and Omar Calhoun added 10 points for Connecticut (1-0), which nearly squandered a 17-point lead. Ryan Boatright scored nine points but missed the front end of a one-and-one opportunity with 26 seconds left to leave the door open.

Nick Faust scored 17 points and Evan Smotrycz added 13 and nine rebounds for Maryland (0-1). Dez Wells and Jake Layman chipped in 13 points apiece.

Giffey went 3-for-3 from 3-point range off the bench in the first half as the Huskies cruised into the break with a 48-36 lead. The Terrapins cut it to 59-50 six minutes into the second before Napier and Calhoun nailed back-to-back 3-pointers.

Napier stole the ball from Wells and pushed it ahead to Boatright for a transition dunk and a 67-50 lead with 11:59 left, but Napier was called for a technical foul on the way back down the court and Maryland used that momentum shift to rip off an 11-0 burst behind nine points from Layman. The Terrapins whittled the deficit to 78-77 on Wells’ jumper in the lane with 39 seconds left, but Wells missed jumpers on two straight possessions in the final 14 seconds as Connecticut held on.

Providence 82, BC 78

Bryce Cotton scored seven of his 28 points in overtime as the host Friars outlasted the Eagles in the season opener for both schools.

LaDontae Denton had 15 points and 13 rebounds and Josh Fortune scored 15 as Providence improved to 5-7 in the last 12 meetings with Boston College — with each game decided by single digits. Lee Goldsbrough scored his only two points on a pair of free throws with 71 seconds to play in overtime to put the Friars ahead for good.

Olivier Hanlan scored 23 points and Ryan Anderson added 21 for the Eagles, who took their last lead at 78-76 on Hanlan’s 3-pointer with 1:42 remaining in the extra session. Boston College shot 51 percent from the floor but was dominated on the backboards 36-20.

Providence turned a four-point halftime deficit into a six-point lead but Hanlan scored 10 points in the final 3:15 of regulation, including a three-point play to tie it at 70-70 with 18.8 seconds left. Cotton’s 3-point attempt to win in didn’t even draw iron.

The first half was tight throughout, with the Friars leading by five points on three occasions before the Eagles closed the half with a 9-0 run, holding Providence scoreless for the final 3:47, to take a 31-27 lead into the break.

Kentucky 89, UNC Asheville 57

Julius Randle totaled 23 points and 15 rebounds and fellow freshman Marcus Lee added 17 points as the host Wildcats defeated the Bulldogs in the debut of John Calipari’s latest — and perhaps greatest — star-studded freshman class.

Randle, the highest-ranked freshman on Kentucky’s youthful roster, made half of his 12 shots from the field and converted 11-of-13 attempts from the foul line for the Wildcats (1-0), who only led by 10 points at halftime before outscoring the Bulldogs 48-26 following intermission. In addition to Randle and Lee, fellow freshmen James Young (11 points), Aaron Harrison (10 points, five rebounds, four steals) and Aaron Harrison (eight points, five assists) had solid debuts, although the trio combined to shoot just 7-of-21.

In the midst of the hoopla surrounding Kentucky’s freshmen, sophomore forward Alex Poythress delivered 10 points and 13 rebounds as the Wildcats held a 49-33 advantage on the boards. Will Weeks led UNC Asheville (0-1) with 19 points, while Andrew Rowsey added 12.

The best sequence for Kentucky in the first half was a 10-0 run that turned a 13-13 tie into a double-digit lead. Young had seven points, including two 3-pointers, during the key stretch, which also featured a dunk by Poythress.

Still, the Wildcats shot only 37.9 percent in the first half, not to mention a disappointing 17-of-31 effort from the free-throw line. For the game, Kentucky shot 47.5 percent from the field, highlighted by Lee’s 7-of-8 performance.

Wake Forest 89, Colgate 78

Devin Thomas scored 23 points and grabbed six rebounds as the host Demon Deacons staved off a challenge from the Raiders to win their season opener.

Codi Miller-McIntyre added 21 points, seven rebounds and four assists for Wake Forest, which won its third straight season opener under coach Jeff Bzdelik. Thomas played a team-high 34 minutes, connecting on 11-of-15 from the field for the Demon Deacons (1-0), who trailed 40-38 at halftime.

Pat Moore led the Colgate offense, scoring 17 points while fellow guard Austin Tillotson — a transfer from Monmouth — added 14 points and a game-high nine assists in his first game for the Raiders (0-1). Murphy Burnatowski — Colgate’s leading scorer from a year ago — added 13 points but shot just 3-of-12.

The Raiders were hot from long range in the early going, knocking down nine three-pointers in a back-and-forth first half. Tillotson had 11 points at the break while Pat Moore sank his first three attempts from beyond the arc.

Colgate continued its hot hand early into the second half, establishing its biggest lead of the game at 51-43 at the 16:46 mark. Wake Forest took control of the game for good when Miller-McIntyre scored 12 points as part of a 19-4 run and, after the Raiders pulled to within 62-59 with just under 10 minutes to play, the Demon Deacons cruised down the stretch.

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