(PRESQUE ISLE, ME) -- As the University of Maine-Presque Isle men's basketball team continues on its season-long rebuilding project under first-year head coach Jim Casciano, there have been the predictable bumps in the road. But as other teams limp to the finish line, Casciano's Owls continue to improve.
Two days after taking USCAA #8 ranked UMaine-Fort Kent to the brink before ultimately falling 64-60, the Owls had upset on their minds again Sunday when they played Virginia University-Lynchburg. Presque Isle jumped out to a 14-2 lead before the Dragons began their comeback. By halftime, VUL had gained a 35-31 advantage and went on to win, 62-53.
UMPI (3-15) played even with the Dragons nearly the entire 2nd half, never able to regain its early lead but also not falling more than 6 points behind until the game's final minute.
Both teams took their games to the paint, combining to shoot only 6 three-pointers (UMPI 3-5, VUL 0-1). It was the Dragons' ability to crash the boards to the tune of 20 offensive rebounds that wound up being the difference.
VUL's Christopher Calvan came off the bench to lead all scorers with 26 points. Patrick Manifold (Jr./Great Yarmouth, ME) led UMPI in scoring with 15.
Sunday was the last home game for the Owls this season as they will finish up the 2011-12 campaign at Colby College on Tuesday and at Vermont Tech on Friday. Presque Isle honored its seniors before the game for their contributions to the basketball program. Brennen Morton (Sr./Chepachet, RI) made the most of his first start of the season. The three-point specialist hit two bombs as part of UMPI's early 14-2 run. He finished 8 points. UMPI's other senior Loren Fawthrop (Sr./Amherst, Nova Scotia) pulled down a rebound in 6 minutes of action.