After two blowout victories in their exhibition matchups, the University of Maine men’s basketball team was brought back to Division I reality on Saturday in a 67-54 loss to Dartmouth College.
Dartmouth sophomore forward Gabas Maldunas tallied a double-double with 25 points and 10 rebounds on the day as UMaine also struggled shooting, hitting 33 percent of their shots, making only two of 15 3-point attempts and going 14 of 20 from the foul line.
Black Bear senior center Mike Allison led UMaine with 17 points, 11 rebounds and one block, while sophomore guard Justin Edwards scored 12 points and had two assists.
The Big Green came right out of the gate to take an 8-1 lead within the first 5 minutes before Edwards and sophomore guard Xavier Pollard led a comeback to get the Black Bears tied with Dartmouth at 10, forcing the Big Green to call a timeout with 12:14 to play in the first half.
After playing tied or down by two for the next 2 minutes, the Black Bears gained a momentum swing as Allison, Edwards and Pollard helped UMaine take its first lead of the game with 10:15 to play in the first half. Edwards hit an and-one free throw to take a brief 13-12 lead. After a Dartmouth lay-up, UMaine took the lead back and would hold it until there were 10 seconds to play in the half.
With 50 seconds left to play in the first half, UMaine up 26-23, Dartmouth sophomore forward John Golden hit a 3-pointer to tie up the game. Fellow sophomore forward Jvonte Brooks hit two free throws to send the Big Green into the locker room with a 28-26 lead.
Dartmouth opened up the second half much like the way they opened the game up and went on another run, getting rid of any kind of momentum that UMaine had going into half time. Only 38 seconds into the second half, Golden assisted Dartmouth freshman guard Kevin Crescenzi on a 3-pointer that made the score 31-26, beginning a 12-2 run for the Big Green.
With just under 13 minutes to go in the second half, Allison and freshman guard Shaun Lawton helped bring the Black Bears back to within five points, but that was as close as the Black Bears would get to Dartmouth.
Dartmouth slowly pulled away the rest of the game, winning 67-54.
UMaine drops to 0-1 on the year and will head to College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Ma. Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. before heading back home to the Alfond Arena Saturday Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. to face Brown University.