JOHNSON, VT – The University of Maine at Presque Isle Men's Basketball team (0-1) would fall to Johnson State (1-0) in their season opener. A scoring drought early in the second half would doom the Owls, as they would fall by a score of 66-55.
The two teams looked evenly matched in the first half. The Owls would hold a small early lead, but the host Badgers would make a run and grab the advantage. Every time Johnson State would build a lead, UMPI would storm back, as they would come back from seven point deficits at multiple points in the early going. The Owls would fight back and tie the game at 28 with under a minute, but Johnson State would get a strong possession to end the half, and go to intermission leading 30-28. Despite not shooting well overall from the floor, the Owls would rely on the long ball and charity to keep themselves close, hitting four of twelve from the three-point line, while getting to the free throw line ten times and converting six of those.
UMPI would go cold in the second half and allow Johnson State to build a lead in the second half. The Badgers would lead by as much as 16 with ten minutes left in the game, which proved to be too much of a hole for the Owls to climb out of. They would regroup and cut into that lead, trimming it to ten at one point, but time ran short on the visitors, as they would drop their opener by a score of 66-55.
The Owls would shoot just 30.8% from the field and 24% from behind the arc. They would turn the ball over twenty times, an uncharacteristic number for the UMPI squad under Head Coach Mike Holmes. "We played tentatively with the ball, and that cost us key points in transition," said Holmes. "We just never flowed tonight."
Marqwon Wynn (JR, Wilmington, DE) would pace the Badgers with 14 points. Rasul Jackson (JR, Philadelphia, PA) would add 13, while Jeyquan Johnson (JR, Harlem, NY) would contribute 11 points and eight rebounds off the bench.
The Owls travel to Husson on Saturday to take on the Eagles. That game is scheduled for 2 PM.