With the Black Bears holding a 39-38 advantage with 11:05 left in the second-half, the Denver Pioneers constructed a 20-5 scoring run over the next 7:35, as the Pioneers held on to a 63-50 victory over Maine in the season-opener at Magness Arena in Denver on Tuesday night.
The Black Bears (0-1) were tied at the half (27-27) with the Summit League foe, but were outscored 36-23 in the second frame. The game marked Richard Barron’s first as the Maine men’s head coach.
Andrew Fleming led Maine with 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting, followed by Isaiah White (9 points), Vilgot Larsson (8 points) Terion Moss (8 points) and Mykhailo Yagodin (7 points).
Maine held an 40-37 edge in rebounds, including a 14-7 advantage on the offensive end. Vincent Eze led the squad with 10 boards and collected two blocks. Fleming and Larsson added six boards. Moss tallied five caroms in his Black Bear debut.
In the first-ever meeting between the schools, Maine and Denver (1-0) went toe-to-toe during the first 20 minutes. The contest featured 10 lead changes, with eight coming in the first half.
Following the half-time intermission, Maine scored 12 of the first 21 points in the second half, but Denver ensued on the 20-5 run over the next seven and a half minutes. The Pioneers built a game-high 17-point lead on the run at 61-44 with 2:44 to play. The Black Bears rallied with four of the final six points of the game, but ran out of time as Denver held on to a 63-50 win.
Ronnie Harrell Jr. recorded a double-double (18 points, 13 rebounds) for the Pioneers, while Jase Townsend registered 16 points off the bench.
The Black Bears continue their West-Coast swing Thursday, when Maine takes on Pac-12 foe Utah in Salt Lake City. Tip-off at Jon M Huntsman Center is slated for 9 p.m. EST.