The University of Maine Black Bears men’s basketball team struggled in the 2015-16 season opener at the University of Connecticut (UConn) on Friday night against the Huskies.
UConn rolled over Maine by a score of 100-56, and led throughout the entire contest. The Black Bears didn’t have the size or athleticism to hang with the Huskies and were overwhelmed defensively, as Maine was outscored 58-26 in the second half en route to a 44-point loss.
The contest was a tale of two halves for the Black Bears.
Maine showed plenty of positive signs in the first half, coming out and shooting the ball beautifully from the three-point line. The Black Bears converted 46 percent of their shots on 5-of-11 shooting, while playing lockdown perimeter defense by limiting the Huskies to a dismal 21 percent from beyond the arc on 3-of-14 shooting. Maine was also battling evenly with UConn on the glass in the first half, as they were out rebounded just 18-13 despite being undersized. Maine was playing competitively, and trailed only 42-30 at halftime.
Maine ran out of energy and confidence in the second half rather quickly, surrendering a 34-4 run to UConn to open up the second half which would ultimately put the game away.
The Huskies shot an excellent 58 percent from the field in the second half compared to the Black Bears 25 percent shooting, and outrebounded Maine 30-17, allowing UConn to control both the time of possession and the flow of the game.
UConn had stellar play from nearly their entire roster. Fourth-year guard Sterling Gibbs led the way for the Huskies with 20 points on a perfect seven-for-seven at the charity stripe, along with four assists and three rebounds. Standing at 7-feet tall, third-year center Amida Brimah was dominant on both ends of the floor for UConn, especially under the glass. Brimah totaled 18 points, seven rebounds and nine blocks in the post for UConn. His nine rejection performance was only one shy of the all-time single game record at UConn held by Hasheem Thabeet, Emeka Okafor and Donyell Marshall.
Fourth-year forward Shonn Miller also had a big night for the Huskies, contributing 17 points and 10 rebounds in the winning effort.
Fourth-year center Till Gloger was the lone bright spot for the Black Bears. Gloger led the way for Maine, posting 17 points on 6-of-13 shooting from the field, and grabbed a team-leading six rebounds.
First-year standout Isaac Vann was aggressive in his regular season debut, but not as effective as expected, scoring 10 points and collecting five rebounds. Vann got the majority of his scoring from the foul line, converting 6-of-8 from the free throw line. Unfortunately, he shot a bleak 2-of-10 from the field and couldn’t find any offensive rhythm throughout the contest.
Maine looks to get back on track when they travel to New York to take on LIU Brooklyn, on Nov. 19 at 7 p.m.