GORHAM, Maine – Junior Jayvon Pitts-Young (Portland, Maine) finished two assists shy of a triple-double in his USM debut as the University of Southern Maine Huskies defeated the University of New England Nor'easters in a high-scoring non-conference men's basketball game, 114-99, Tuesday night at Hill Gym.
With the win, Southern Maine starts its 2018-2019 season at 1-0. UNE, also playing in its season-opener, starts at 0-1.
Pitts-Young had 20 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists to lead three USM players in double digits. Senior Christian McCue (Hampden, Maine/Hampden Academy) led all scorers with 28 points, while classmate Grayson Waterman (Berwick, Maine/Noble) had 26 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Senior Kevin Weisser (Windham, Maine) had eight points, eight rebounds and four assists, while freshman Evan Christensen (Old Orchard Beach, Maine/Thornton Academy) and junior Derek Haney (Auburn, Calif./Placer) had nine and seven points respectively off of the bench.
Senior Drew Muniz (Gloucester, Mass.) led the Nor'easters with 18 points. Sophomore Alex Kravchuck (Mansfield, Conn.) had 13 points, while junior Jackson McCoy (East Montpelier, Vt.) tossed in 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds off of the bench. Junior Avery DeBrito (New Bedford, Mass.) and senior Ryan Beatty (Rochester, Mass.) each scored 11 points.
Trailing USM 47-43 with 5:38 on the clock after a pair of free throws from Pitts-Young, the Noreasters stormed back outscoring the Huskies 18-7 to close out the half and surge ahead 61-55 at the break. Beatty scored nine of his 11 in the run for UNE.
USM took control of the game early in the second half, opening with a 12-0 run to assume a 67-61 lead with 17:28 and never trailed the rest of the way. McCue hit for back-to-back threes to key the run. One of two free throws from Marcelino and a jumper from DeBrito stopped the Huskies' run making it 67-64, but USM's Pitts-Young scored all eight of the Huskies points in an 8-2 run for a 75-66 lead with 15 to go.
USM maintained a comfortable margin the rest of the game and led by as many as 17 points, 99-82, with 6:03 left in the game on a three from McCue to hold for the 114-99 final.
Southern Maine returns to action this weekend at the Colby College Tip-Off. The Huskies will face UMaine Presque Isle on Saturday (3:00 p.m.) in their first game of the weekend.