Maine-Presque Isle fought two injuries, foul trouble, and missed lay-ins while battling on the road at powerful Bates, eventually dropping a hard-fought contest, 60-47.
A harbinger of things to come for the Owls were three missed lay-in opportunities in the first six minutes, digging an early hole for the young UMPI team, 15-4.
When players relaxed and followed the lead of junior Chase Vicaire, the Owls were able to stem the tide and keep the game in striking distance. Freshman Trevor Lovely (pictured) provided spark on both ends of the floor in the first half, and sophomores Nick Lenhard and Brandon McGill were gobbling up defensive rebounds (seven each) to keep UMPI in the game at half, trailing 30-20.
The game stayed at that margin for much of the second frame. The Owls got the game to a six-point deficit twice, but Bates took advantage of a rebounding edge (50 to 30) and ten extra free throw opportunities to maintain their margin.
Maine-Presque Isle had a big chance down 55-47 with just over two minutes to play and a missed free throw from Bates' Cam Kaubris; however, the Bobcats grabbed the offensive board and put the Owls into a scramble mode.
After making a stop anyway, UMPI's Kevin Collins backcut and was called for an offensive foul. Bates made four technical free throws to ice the contest away.
Maine-Presque Isle had a game Saturday with Unity moved to Monday, January 19, at Unity. The tip is set for 7:30 p.m.