ORONO, Maine — The University of Maine men’s basketball team demonstrated Sunday that it is not going to take an inferior opponent for granted.
Coach Ted Woodward’s Black Bears (1-1) excelled with an attacking offense and capitalized on its superior frontcourt height and strength in a 111-64 blowout of Fisher College at Memorial Gym.
“Last game [Friday’s 97-77 loss at Rhode Island] we were hurt and we took this game very serious,” said sophomore guard Dimitry Akanda-Coronel, who contributed 17 points and five rebounds.
“We have to respect our opponent but, then again, we know how we are, they know who they are,” he added.
UMaine had a scary moment when junior Xavier Pollard was hurt midway through the first half. The point guard injured his lower back or hip when he leapt, got off-balance and crashed to the floor.
Pollard did not return and was limping noticeably. His status for Tuesday’s game at George Washington is not known.
UMaine was effective in his absence against Fisher (1-2), an NAIA school from Boston.
The Bears showed off balance and unselfishness. Junior guard Zarko Valjarevic went 5-for-7 from the 3-point arc on his way to a team-high 19 points.
Freshman post player Erik Nissen contributed 16 points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots while sophomore Shaun Lawton finished with 12 points, six assists and four steals. Freshman Troy Reid-Knight tallied 12 points and four assists, while Garet Beal of Beals Island added nine points, six assists, two steals and two blocks and freshman Marko Pirovic chipped in nine points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals.
UMaine shot 60 percent from the field (44-for-74), outrebounded Fisher 51-31, outscored the visitors 54-14 in the paint and scored 32 points off 22 turnovers.
“We get a chance to really evaluate a lot of our guys, really work on a lot of the things that we need to get better at,” Woodward said of the game.
Tyler Shular led the Falcons with a game-high 20 points, while Ira Haywood and Orlando Zayas netted 13 and 11 points, respectively.
Fisher, coached by Maine native David Lindberg, came out applying full-court zone pressure and the Bears ran to a 57-24 halftime lead. The Bears attacked the basket hard in transition.
“Any time anybody tries to press us, we try to attack and stay aggressive every play and that’s what we did for 40 minutes,” Valjarevic said.