Johnson, VT – The University of Maine at Presque Isle rallied back from down 13 points in the second half to complete the weekend sweep over Northern Vermont University-Johnson, defeating the Badgers 76-75. The win clinches a play-off berth for the young Owls team in their first year competing in the North Atlantic Conference. UMPI improves to 11-13 on the season and finishes conference play 5-9, good for a sixth place finish in the conference.
With 8:30 remaining in the contest the Owls found themselves down 65-52, however the Owls would go on a 10-0 run over the next three minutes to bring the game to a single-possession game. Shyquinn Dix (So. Stamford, CT) started the run with a pair of free throws after being fouled on a drive to the basket. Dix would convert a layup on the next possession and Te'Von Hines (Jr. Woodbridge, VA) would go 2-2 from the line on the following possession. Jahvion Lockridge (So. Grand Rapids, MI) would convert on a fast break layup and Griffin Guerrette (Fr. Presque Ise, ME) would knock down a pair of free throws as the Owls brought the score to within three, 65-62 with 5:32 remaining forcing a NVM-Johnson timeout.
Out of the timeout Vernon Slater would get fouled and knocked down both free throws giving the Johnson a five-point lead. The Owls would answer with a three-pointer by Dix and a layup by Wilburn Griffiths (Jr. Queens, NY) to tie the game at 67-67 with 4:10 remaining. Johnson would answer with a layup from Robert Dubose, however Guerrette answered right back with a layup of his own tying the game 69-69 with 3:24 left in regulation.
UMPI would retain the ball after a frontend miss of a one and one by Johnson and Gurrettee would knock down a three as the Owls took their first lead of the second half, 72-69 with 2:36 on the clock. Johnson answered with back to back layups to regain the lead with 1:28 left, holding a slight 73-72 lead. On the following Johnson possession Guerrette was fouled on the rebounding action and calmly stepped to the line and knocked down both free throws to take the 74-73 lead with 58 seconds left.
Johnson would score with 18 seconds remaining on a Haji Haji layup to take a 75-74 lead. Out of a timeout the Owls would score on a Hines drive to the basket with 2.8 seconds remaining to regain the lead 76-75. On the following possession Lockridge would make a game saving block at the rim and the Owls would grab the rebound securing the win for UMPI.
Leading the way for the Owls once again was the freshman Guerrette with 21 points, five rebounds, and three assists. Dix scored 17 points and grabbed four rebounds, while Hines scored 12 points and secured six rebounds. Griffiths recorded a double-double with 10 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Johnson was led by Dubose with 21 points, Donnell Shaw with 16 points, and Vernon Slater with 10 points
Next up: UMPI wil host UMaine-Fort Kent on Tuesday February 12th at 5:30 PM in the final regular season game of the season.