Vernon Lowndes Jr. went 7-for-7 from the field on his way to a team-high 20 points on Sunday afternoon, sparking the University of Maine men’s basketball team to its first win of the season, a 78-72 victory over Quinnipiac in Hamden, Conn.
Lowndes connected on all five of his 3-point attempts and contributed nine rebounds, three assists and two steals as the Black Bears improved to 1-5.
Aaron Calixte tossed in 18 points and handed out four assists for UMaine, which overcame 26 turnovers in the win. Danny Evans and Ilker Er posted 10 points each.
The Black Bears shot 53 percent from the floor (27-for-51), including 14-for-23 accuracy (61 percent) from beyond the 3-point arc. UMaine outrebounded Quinnipiac 39-32.
Chaise Daniels paced the Bobcats (1-5) with a game-high 24 points and provided seven rebounds, three blocked shots and two steals. Andrew Robinson hit four 3-pointers and finished with 17 points.
Quinnipiac shot only 36 percent from the field but outscored UMaine 18-10 from the foul line. The hosts scored 27 points as the result of Black Bear turnovers.
Defense set the tone early for UMaine, which led wire to wire. The Black Bears limited the Bobcats to five points over the first nine points of the contest while manufacturing a 21-5 advantage.
UMaine made its move with a 10-0 burst midway through the first half. Calixte ignited the key run with a 3-pointer at the 14:55 mark. Ilija Stojiljkovic buried a 3, then Lowndes made another with barely eight minutes gone.
Calixte’s jumper made it 21-5 with 11:24 left in the half to send the Black Bears on their way. The visitors built their lead to as many as 26 points (46-20) in the final minute of the half.
Quinnipiac battled back to within 10 points (64-54) on a Daniels free throw with 3:07 remaining in the game, but Lowndes made a 3-pointer, then scored a layup on the front end of a conventional three-point play to end the suspense.
UMaine returns to action Tuesday with an 8:30 p.m game at Georgetown.