Maine drives past men’s basketball

Bryan Lipiner

Despite going on a 13-0 scoring run in the second half, and having four players reach double digits in points, Quinnipiac (4-7) fell to the Maine Black Bears, 76-71 Saturday evening at the TD Bank Sports Center. Black Bear and America East scoring leader Justin Edwards drained 26 points, totaling 215 on the year.

“We knew that they could score,” Quinnipiac assistant head coach Sean Doherty told NESN at halftime, with the score tied at 41. “We gotta do a better job defensively in the second half in containing them. They made some tough shots, and we just got to close them off.”

In the second stanza, Maine (5-8) jumped out to an early nine point lead 3:38 into play, outscoring Quinnipiac 11-3 to start the half. Yet, the Bobcats countered by rattling off a 13-0 scoring run, taking a 57-53 lead, off of eight combined points from Ousmane Drame and Shaq Shannon.

After tying the game at 59, Jamee Jackson hit a layup to give Quinnipiac the 61-59 edge. Yet, this would be the final Bobcats lead of the game, as Maine outscored Quinnipiac 17-10 in the waning minutes.

In the first half, Dave Johnson hit a critical three-pointer at 7:42 to give the Bobcats the 16-15 advantage. Later, with 3:06 remaining, Shaq Shannon hit a shot from downtown to push the Quinnipiac lead to five.

The Bobcats shot just 3-of-17 from beyond the arc Saturday, while the squad notched 19 points off the bench. Ike Azotam dropped 16 points, and also fell one rebound short of his 21st career double-double.

With the loss, Quinnipiac concludes their four-game America East set with just one victory. The Bobcats open conference play next weekend, on Thursday Jan. 3 vs. St. Francis (N.Y.) and on Saturday Jan. 5 vs. LIU Brooklyn.