September 18, 2019
MEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Late surge by Socoby sparks win Bears start strong, beat Colgate for 5th victory

ORONO – Winning at the Division I level often requires working through some rough stretches in games.

The University of Maine men’s basketball team demonstrated Monday night that it is learning to bounce back after even protracted struggles.

Colgate nearly wiped out a 17-point deficit, but the Black Bears responded with a strong finish while earning a 67-56 victory over the Raiders at Alfond Arena.

Gerald McLemore drained two momentum-building 3-pointers after UMaine (5-4) went almost nine minutes without a field goal, then Houlton native Mark Socoby put the Bears on his back down the stretch.

“We hit a couple stretches where our execution wasn’t as crisp at we would have liked,” said UMaine coach Ted Woodward, “but from a character standpoint, I thought they did a great job. You lose a lead like that, they can get tight sometimes.”

With McLemore (11 points) having eased the offensive tension, it was Socoby who went into attack mode. The junior guard scored seven straight UMaine points during a critical stretch, helping the hosts stretch a two-point edge to seven (54-47) with 4:02 to play.

Socoby made a foul shot, then buried a 3-pointer in transition before Colgate’s Ben Jonson (15 points, 12 rebounds) answered with a 16-footer from the baseline. At the other end, Socoby drove to the basket, initiated contact against Jonson, then banked in a short runner on the front end of a three-point play.

“I know he said taking what the defense gives him, but he’s really improved his game putting the ball on the floor,” Woodward said of Socoby. “He’s gotten a lot stronger and really diversified his game. I think he showed great leadership in that stretch.”

Socoby finished with a game-high 21 points to go with four steals and three assists. Senior guard Junior Bernal tossed in 17 points with six rebounds and five assists. Neither player committed a turnover.

“They had a good 10 or 15 minutes in the second half, but we weathered the storm and showed a lot of maturity up and down the line and it’s a good win for us,” Socoby said.

Sean McNally of Gardiner provided 13 points and six rebounds for the Bears, who outrebounded the Raiders 34-27 and committed only nine turnovers.

Jonson led Colgate (2-6), which lost its fifth straight, with 15 points. Mike Venezia added 12 points for the Raiders, who were hampered by foul trouble to rangy forward Alex Woodhouse (two points, three rebounds, three assists).

“You’ve got to credit them,” said Colgate coach Emmett Davis. “They posted our guys, were physical and we had to really work hard to defend them on the inside and that got us into some foul trouble with penetration.”

UMaine built its substantial advantage on a foundation of gritty defense. Its combination of 2-3 zone and man-to-man held the Raiders scoreless for a span of more than 71/2 minutes while scoring 12 unanswered points to take a 23-13 lead with 5:22 left in the first half.

Colgate shot 32 percent (6-for-19) from the floor in the half.

“We played very good defense for an extended period there in the first half and it gave us the lead,” Woodward. “It’s just a good team effort all around. We got a lot of contributions.”

The determined Raiders quickly made it a contest after intermission. Venezia scored eight points during a 15-2 Colgate surge that sliced the deficit to 41-37 with 10:19 left.

However, McLemore’s 3-pointer from the left side at the 9:56 mark helped UMaine hold the lead. Only 1:15 later, he buried another 3 to answer a 5-0 Colgate flurry that had trimmed the Bears’ lead to two.

“Threes are good for any drought,” Socoby said. “You hit a 3, it changes the momentum so much, especially when you hit back-to-back 3’s like Gerald did.”

A Joe Hoban 3-pointer got Colgate back within 47-45 with 6:32 to play, but Socoby made sure UMaine maintained the lead.

UMaine returns to action Wednesday at fifth-ranked Oklahoma.

pwarner@bangordailynews.net

990-8240

BLACK BEARS 67, RAIDERS 56

Colgate (2-6) Maine (5-4)

Player G AG F AF TP Player G AG AF TP

Woodhous 1 4 0 0 2 Barnies 0 1 2

Jonson 4 9 7 8 15 McNally 4 8 13

Hoban 2 3 2 2 8 Rogers 0 2 0

Venezia 4 9 1 2 12 Socoby 7 13 21

Morse 1 4 2 2 5 McLmore 4 8 11

Hill 2 5 0 0 6 Bernal 5 9 7 17

Vinson 1 1 0 0 2 Owes 0 7 3

Marfurt 0 2 0 0 0 Chetinov 0 0

Pascale 3 4 0 0 6

Gwawu 0 3 0 2 0

English 0 1 0 0 0

Totals 18 45 12 16 56 Totals 20 50 20 27 67

Colgate 19 56

Maine 35 67

3-pt. goals – Colgate (8-21): Jonson 0-1, Hoban 2-3, Venezia 3-7, Morse 1-4, Hill 2-4, Marfurt 0-2; Maine (7-20): McNally 0-1, Socoby 4-9, McLemore 3-5, Bernal 0-2, Owes 0-3

Attendance: 1,415

Correction: A shorter version of this article ran on page C3 in the State edition.

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