Saturday, January 17, 2009

Black Bears 72, Albany 61

Kaimondre Owes scored 20 points in 13 minutes off the bench and the Black Bears came up with a much-needed victory over first-place Albany Saturday. Owes (pictured) was 2 for 2 on 3-pointers and hit eight of nine free throws to pace UMaine.

In a hard-fought contest, the Black Bears extended a 12-point halftime lead to 23 nine minutes into the second half, before the Great Danes (11-7, 3-2 America East) battled back. Albany got as close as nine points, but the Black Bears (7-11, 2-3) made enough shots and free throws to weather the Albany full-court pressure.

With the Great Danes scrambling and slicing the lead to 10 with about 4 minutes left, Mark Socoby (10 points, 6 rebounds) hit one of the biggest shots of the game, nailing a transition 3-pointer from the right side to extend the lead to 63-50.

Sean McNally (14 points, 6 rebounds) and Malachi Peay (11 points, 5 rebounds) joined Owes and Socoby in double figures for the Black Bears. Junior Bernal chipped in eight points and three rebounds.

Will Harris led Albany with 20 points and eight rebounds. Albany entered the game on a three-game winning streak.

The game was crucial for the Black Bears as the beginning of a three-game homestand after a couple tough losses (UMBC, Hartford) on the road last week. New Hampshire visits Alfond Arena Monday night.
Both teams turned the ball over (UMaine 20, Albany 18), but the Black Bears were able to capitalize more often, scoring 29 points off the Great Danes miscues compared to 18 for Albany.
After shooting 45 percent from the floor in its past two games, Albany was held to 29 percent in the first half (39 percent for the game). UMaine connected on 48 percent of its shots from the floor. Albany was forced to pick up its defensive pressure in the second half and it resulted in a huge advantage for the Black Bears (27 for 36) at the foul line. Albany went to the line 12 times and made eight.

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