PRESQUE ISLE, ME – The University of Maine at Presque Isle Owls (9-10) won in thrilling fashion on Wednesday night, as they would need overtime to down the University of Maine at Machias Clippers (7-14) by a final score of 71-67.
Before forcing the extra period, the Owls would have to make a comeback first. The Clippers would have control of the matchup early, going on a 15-2 run midway through the first half to spread their lead to double digits. The Owls would struggle in the early going, shooting just 24.3% from the floor, and only connecting once on 11 attempts from behind the three-point arc. Maine-Machias would stretch their lead to 15 points late in the half, and would take a 32-24 lead into the locker room with them at intermission.
Offensively the Owls would pick up the pace in the second half, but still trail well into the second half. Facing an 11-point deficit, UMPI would go on a 13-2 run to tie the game at 46 with 8:48 remaining in the game. Machias would respond and would go up by multiple possessions only to see the Owls come back and tie the game on more than one occasion. With 1:48 remaining, Kevin Collins (SR, Fort Washington, MD) would convert a basket to give the Owls a 58-57 lead. It was the first time UMPI would be in front since a 13-12 score midway through the first half.
The two teams would trade baskets, and the Owls would get two free throws and hold a three-point lead with just seconds remaining in regulation. Out of a timeout, Machias would find Darius Clark (SR, Melbourne, FL) who would hit on a deep three-point attempt with 2.9 seconds remaining, forcing overtime.
The Owls get two excellent possessions early in the extra frame, getting to the rim and taking a four-point lead. Once again, Clark would do his part to erase the Clippers' deficit, knocking down a big three. After the Owls would miss on their next possession, Machias would take the lead, converting on two free throws. Neither team could take advantage of their ensuing possessions, setting up the late dramatics.
A tough defensive effort would set the Owls up with the ball in the backcourt with time winding down on the shot clock. Out of a timeout, UMPI would set up a play that would give Collins a look at the top of the key. With a defender in his face, Kevin would come through in the clutch situation, draining the shot and sending the packed Wieden crowd into a frenzy. Needing a stop to seal the victory, UMPI's Maurice Harris (SR, Miami, FL) would block Clark's attempt, Anthony Chacho (SR, Watertown, CT) would pick up the loose rebound, and forward it ahead to Deandre Duncombe (FR, Port St. Lucie, FL). Duncombe's ensuing dunk would put an exclamation point on an exciting finish, and the Owls would take the 71-67 victory.
Duncombe would finish with 23 points, four assists, and three steals. On a night where Kevin Collins was recognized before the game for reaching the 1,000 point milestone, he would score 18 points, grab four rebounds, and have three steals. Harris would record a double-double, scoring ten, collecting 12 rebounds, and adding five steals and two blocks.
Clark would end the game with 24 points for the Clippers.
The Owls take to the road on Thursday to face in-state rivals the University of Maine at Augusta Moose. That game will start at 7 pm.