The University of Maine at Farmington men’s basketball team took down the University of Maine at Presque Isle, 86-74, this afternoon in Dearborn Gymnasium to capture the North Atlantic Conference (NAC) East Division Championship and clinch a spot in next weekend’s NAC Championship game to be played in Farmington.
Both teams struggled to score the ball in the opening moments as they felt one another out to start the game. The Beavers missed their first four three-point attempts to open the game before a Terion Moss (Portland, Maine) layup cracked the scoreless spell. The teams were knotted up at 4-4 going into the first media timeout.
The Owls came out of the first media break hot, rattling off a 9-2 run to take a 13-6 lead. A Kyle Donlin (Warren, Maine) three halted some of the Owls momentum. Donlin hit five three in the game to help pace the Beavers on offense.
The Beavers cut the deficit back down to two at the under-12 media timeout. Five quick points from Presque Isle increased their lead back to seven with under 10 minutes to play in the 1st half. The Beavers answer with a 7-0 run on the heels of another Donlin three, a layup from Moss, and a short jumper in the lane from Jack Kane (Cumberland, Maine).
A three from Moss at the 6:26 mark gave the Beavers their 1st lead since the opening moments of the game. But the Owls had another quick answer. This time Gilbert Jean Mendez hit a pair of threes to push their lead back to five with 4:40 left to play in the 1st half.
The Beavers closed the half strong, going on a 15-2 run to take an eight point lead into half time. Nathan Poulin (Williamstown, Maine) helped to provide a spark across the run, scoring seven points, including a huge lead that would give the Beavers the lead for good.
Back-to-back hoops from Moss to open up the 2nd half pushed the Beavers lead to 12 and momentum was firmly in the hands of Farmington. But the Owls played a gritty game all afternoon and did not go down without a fight. They responded with a 7-2 spurt to cut the deficit back down to seven.
Once again Moss would register back-to-back buckets and pushed the Beavers lead back up to double-digits at 11. The Owls had another answer, going on a 7-0 run and all of a sudden it was a four point game. Eight quick points from the Beavers pushed their lead back up to 12 with 10:44 left to play.
A pair of threes from UMPI’s Parker Onorato quieted the crowd momentarily. But Poulin responded with back-to-back three’s of his own to give the Beavers a 12-point lead once again. Griffin Guerrette hit a three on the very next possession cutting the Beavers lead to 66-57 with 7:27 left.
Donlin then got cooking for the Beavers. He scored the next 11 Beaver points helping extend their lead to 16 with four minutes left, and all put away the game on Saturday afternoon. The Owls were able to cut the lead to 11 a couple of times, but were unable to draw any closer.
Moss was huge all afternoon for the Beavers. He played all 40 minutes, tallying 33 points on 14-25 shooting from the field, adding seven assists and five boards. Donlin finished with 21 points and seven rebounds. Poulin provided a huge spark off the bench this afternoon for the Beavers, finishing with 16 points and nine rebounds including hitting four threes.
Guerette played all 40 minutes for the Owls, registering 24 points and six boards. Dany Harris pitched in with 15 points while Onorato added 14.