BANGOR, Maine — Aaron Calixte scored 15 points and Vernon Lowndes Jr. added 14 as the University of Maine men’s basketball team wore down the University of Maine at Presque Isle 75-55 at the Cross Insurance Center on Tuesday night.
UMPI used a 13-0 run midway through the contest to hang within as few as nine points early in the second half, but UMaine extended its defensive pressure and countered with 11 unanswered points to secure its second win of the season.
Ilker Er added 10 points and six rebounds for the Black Bears, while Kevin Collins scored 18 points and Maurice Harris added 14 to lead Division III UMPI, now 3-4.
UMaine (2-7) hit 7 of its first 10 shots overall — including all three from beyond the arc — to build a 17-3 lead six minutes into the game.
Calixte was the early catalyst, scoring eight points in the early going with six coming on a pair of threes.
UMPI settled down as UMaine went to its bench and played the Black Bears relatively even over the next few minutes, with a four-point play by guard Anthony Chacho a highlight that drew coach Dan Kane’s Owls within 23-12 with 11:38 left in the first half.
Dusan Majstorovic scored from the lane and then nailed a 3-pointer as UMaine pulled back out to a 28-12 lead, and while UMPI was still within 31-16 on a basket from the lane by Sebastiaan Boissevai with 8:40 to go in the period, Calixte made a 15-footer and Er scored from the lane and from 3-point land as the Black Bears pushed their lead up to 20 points at 40-20 at halftime.
UMPI opened the second half with nine straight points, six on a 3-point shot and a three-point play by Maurice Harris around a three-point drive by Harris to cut the gap to 40-29 and prompt a UMaine timeout with 17:34 left in the game.
The overall run, which included the final basket of the first half, grew to 13 when Chacho scored off a give-and-go feed from Harris to make it 40-31 before Ilija Stojiljkovic ended a UMaine scoring drought of more than seven minutes by making the second of two free throws with 15:57 remaining.
UMaine extended its defense to slow UMPI’s momentum, and the Black Bears finally ended a stretch of 10 minutes, 21 seconds without a field goal when Celio Araujo hit a 3-pointer to stretch the lead to 46-32 with 14:47 remaining.
That was part of an 11-0 UMaine run capped off by a Calixte 3-pointer that gave the Bears a 52-32 advantage with 12 minutes left.