NEW YORK – Despite a late rally by the UMaine men’s basketball team, the Black Bears fell to Columbia, 83-71 at Levien Gymnasium on Saturday afternoon. Aaron Calixte poured in a game-high 19 points (7-13 FG, 3-6 3PT), including 13 points in the second half alone to lead the Black Bears.
Calixte broke the Maine school record for consecutive free throws made in a season against the Lions, sinking his 33rd and 34th straight attempts in the second half. The 57-year old school record was set in the 1960-61 season by Black Bear great Skip Chappelle. Calixte’s streak has spanned the last 10 games, starting in the second half against Quinnipiac on Nov. 26. The redshirt junior is now shooting 93 percent (49-53) on the season from the charity-stripe.
Vernon Lowndes Jr. tallied 11 points, with eight alone coming in the second half. Andrew Fleming recorded nine points, while Ilker Er added eight points and a team-high eight rebounds in 21 minutes of action.
Maine (3-12) and Columbia (2-10) battled back-and-forth in the Black Bears’ non-conference finale to start the game, with neither team gaining a significant advantage from the start.
With the Black Bears trailing 15-12, the Lions finished the first half on a 31-15 run to take a 46-27 halftime advantage. The Lions capitalized from long range in the first 20 minutes, shooting 50 percent from 3-point range (8-19). The Lions entered the game ranked 25th nationally in 3-point field goals per game, averaging 10.5 per contest.
Calixte started the second half strong, draining his first two field goal attempts in the second half, but the Lions remained hot from the field to increase their lead to as high as 33 points at 74-40 with 10:10 remaining in the second half.
The Black Bears fought back, countering with an impressive 19-2 run in the final six minutes to come within 12 points of Columbia. Maine ran out of time however, with the score in favor of Columbia at 83-71. Using a balanced offense during the run, seven different Black Bears scored.
In the second half, Maine outscored Columbia 44-37, held a slightly better field goal percentage (43.8 percent to 42.4 percent) and doubled Columbia’s bench points (22-10).
Over the course of the game, Maine out-rebounded the Ivy League foe, 44-39.
Four Lions reached double figures in the contest, led by Quinton Adlesh and Mike Smith, who each dropped in 16 points.
Maine is off for the rest of 2017, resuming game action on Jan 3., when the Black Bears open the America East slate with a trip to Long Island to play Stony Brook. The opening tip is set for 7:00 p.m. at Island Federal Credit Union Arena.