Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Norfolk State 72, Black Bears 71

Kyle O'Quinn's hoop with 5 seconds gave Norfolk State (1-1) only its second lead of the game as the Spartans rallied from a 14-point deficit and clipped the visiting Black Bears (1-1) Monday night.

UMaine appeared headed for a second straight win to open the season, holding a seven-point lead (64-57) with three minutes to go. The Spartans, playing without injured leading scorer Michael Deloach, pulled out the win. Until the final margin, Norfolk State hadn't led since scoring the first hoop of the game.

Gerald McLemore paced UMaine with 24 points. Sean McNally contributed 11 points and 10 rebounds. Terrance Mitchell scored 16.

Though it is only two games, the Black Bears have demonstrated a familiar penchant for playing well enough to lead or contend late into games before fading down the stretch. In the opener, the Black Bears built a big lead on Fordham and then held on. Using the same formula against Norfolk, the Black Bears led 52-38 with 11 minutes to go before surrendering almost as many points in the final 10 minutes (34) as they had in the first 30. During the final stretch, the Black Bears committed eight of their 18 turnovers.

Much of the preseason Black Bears' talk centered around cleaning up this fatal character flaw and closing games.

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