CHESTNUT HILL, MA -- UMaine-Presque Isle and Valley Forge went back and forth in a close game before UMPI shut down UVF in the last two minutes to claim a 70-60 win in the first semifinal of the ACAA Men's Basketball Championships on the campus of Pine Manor in Chestnut Hill, MA. The Owls will await the winner of the Alfred State/Pine Manor semifinal for a noon championship game Sunday.
The first half featured swings. UMPI started the game strong and was up by seven points at the 16:18 mark of the first half, but UVF came clawing back in the game, finally tying the game at 9:44 on a free throw by Arthur Wilborn. The Patriots would go on to lead by as many as 13 in the first half before settling for a 11-point halftime margin.
UMPI came out of the gate strong again in the second half and erased the UVF lead in only a little over four minutes when Kevin Collins hit a free throw. The Owls shot 53.7% from the field (7-13) in the first nine minutes of the second half to make it a back-and-forth contest. Neither team had a lead larger than three points for 11 ½ minutes until Willburn Griffiths hit a layup at the 5:12 mark to give the Owls a five-point margin. UMPI held the lead the rest of the way to allowing UVF to score in the final 2:34 of the game.
"We talked about it at halftime," said UMPI head coach Dan Kane. "It looked like the problem was our offense, but it was really our defense. We weren't playing our game plan. With our defense comes our offense. I'm really proud of the team for the way they dug down."