July 13, 2020

Blue Hens peck away inside to beat UMaine

BANGOR – There’s a controversial scientist in Chicago who may have had the answer the University of Maine was looking for against the University of Delaware on Saturday night.

Human cloning. Specifically, a couple more copies of burly forward Allen Ledbetter would have helped.

Without that option available to UMaine, the Blue Hens took turns dismantling the Bears down low and emerged with a 94-82 triumph at the Penobscot Job Corps gym.

Darryl Presley nailed 13 of 15 attempts from in the paint en route to 29 points and frontcourt mate Mike Pegues added 27 more on 9-for-15 accuracy to pace Delaware.

The Black Bears dropped to 4-9, 1-4 in America East. Delaware improved to 7-5, 3-2.

The two teams played at the Job Corps gym in front of just 75 Job Corps students and UMaine employees after Alfond Arena in Orono was deemed unplayable by the fire marshal.

Orono regained power on Saturday, but Alfond no longer had the necessary emergency lighting: that battery power had been used up.

Pegues, a 6-foot-5 sophomore, said the Blue Hens made a conscious effort to pound it down low against Maine.

“I think that other than Ledbetter, they were a little shallow in the post as far as post defense,” Pegues said. “It was almost like, whoever didn’t have Ledbetter on him, go to the hole with it.

“And sometimes, Ledbetter was winded from checking all of us and we went on him, too.”

UMaine coach John Giannini said the Black Bears was pleased with a portion of his defense, but agreed with Pegues.

“I think we won the battle on the perimeter,” Giannini said. “Allen Ledbetter had his typically strong game, but Mike Pegues was equally strong, and at this point we don’t have another person like a Darryl Presley out there.”

The Blue Hens flew out of the gate, drilling 17 of their first 22 shots and building a 39-25 lead after 15 minutes.

But from there, Delaware abandoned the inside game that had gotten it that far and let Maine back into the game.

Marcus Wills scored eight of his 29 points to key a 14-1 run that closed out the half, and Maine trailed just 40-39 at the break.

That pattern was repeated in the second half, when the Hens built another 14-point cushion midway through the period by hitting 12 of its first 17 shots. Then they watched Maine reel off another 15-6 flurry to close the gap.

The last run brought the Bears to within 75-70 wth 6:38 to play, but Delaware went down low again and nailed 11 of 14 free throws down the stretch to win it.

“I think the two times that we didn’t get it inside, that’s when we shot quick from the perimeter and Maine had great runs,” Delaware coach Mike Brey said.

The Black Bears got 20 points and 11 rebounds from Ledbetter, but received a sub-par game from the league’s top scorer, Fred Meeks.

Meeks was held to just eight points in 21 foul-plagued minutes. He fouled out with 3:34 left.

Brey said despite having tremendous success on the offensive end – Delaware shot 58 percent – his squad never found a way to do more than temporarily slow the Bears.

“They scare me because they’re so explosive offensively,” Brey said. “Tonight, basically, we just outscored ’em, because we didn’t stop ’em. I mean, they scored 82 points and shot 50 percent.”

But while the Bears put together some offensive bursts, they also took poor care of the basketball.

Wills turned the ball over seven times, while Meeks and Dade Faison coughed it up five times each. In all, the Bears committed 27 turnovers.

Blue Hens 94, Black Bears 82

Delaware (7-5) Maine men (4-9)


Pegues 9 15 9 10 27 Haynes 3 6 1 2 8

Davis 7 14 2 3 16 Meeks 3 7 1 2 8

Presley 13 15 3 4 29 Ledbetter 9 15 2 6 20

Miller 2 2 4 4 8 Wills 11 20 3 3 29

Diouf 2 4 2 4 6 Faison 2 5 0 0 5

Perry 1 5 1 2 4 Thibodeau 1 2 0 0 3

Bennett 1 1 0 0 2 Thompson 0 0 0 0 0

Marciulionis 1 6 0 0 2 Fein 4 9 0 0 9

Marshall 0 1 0 0 0

Totals 36 62 21 27 94 Totals 33 65 7 13 82

Delaware 40 94

Maine 39 82

3-pt. goals: Delaware (1-7): Diouf 0-1, Perry 1-4, Marciulionis 1-6; Maine (9-21): Haynes 1-3, Meeks 1-2, Wills 4-7, Faison 1-2, Thibodeau 1-2, Fein 1-5

Attendance: 75

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