CASTLETON, Vermont – Senior Christian McCue (Hampden, Maine/Hampden Academy) scored a game-high 27 points to lead three players in double-figures as the University of Southern Maine Huskies used a big second half to defeat the Castleton University Spartans 71-57 in a Little East Conference men's basketball game Saturday afternoon at Glenbrook Gym.
The win stops a two-game slide for the Huskies who are now 3-3 overall and 1-1 in the Little East. Suffering their second straight defeats, the Spartans are 3-4 overall and 0-2 in conference action.
McCue was 10-for-24 from the field, including four three-pointers, adding five rebounds, four assists and a steal. Junior Derek Haney (Auburn, Calif./Placer) scored a USM career-best 16 points and grabbed six boards in a strong performance off of the bench for Southern Maine, making 6-of-11 from the field. Junior Jayvon Pitts-Young (Portland, Maine) added 13 points, seven rebounds, and three assists.
Castleton's Tank Roberson led his team with 14 points, four rebounds and a game-high six assists. Calvin Carter and Richard Walker each scored 12 points for the Spartans. Carter had seven rebounds. Igor Almeida snagged a game-high 10 rebounds off of the bench for Castleton, adding four points and two steals.
Led by 14 first-half points from McCue, USM entered the halftime break with a 28-25 lead. McCue was 5-for-11 in the first half. CU to an early lead in the second half, opening the stanza with a 6-0 run for a 31-28 advantage. The Spartans remained in front of the Huskies by a possession and led 36-33 on a three from Carter with 16:19 left in regulation before McCue's three with 16:02 set up a back-and-forth contest for the next several possessions.
After Castleton's Robertson sank a pair of free throws to tie the score up again with 14:51 to go, USM's Haney's three with 13:38 on the clock gave the Huskies the lead for good and started a pivotal 11-2 run. Haney scored six of USM's 11 in the run, while McCue scored five, including a jumper with 8:55 to play for a 49-40 lead.
The Spartans got to within four points, 54-50, of Southern Maine with 5:38 to play on a layup from Roberson, but the Huskies slammed the door on Castleton outscoring the Spartans 17-7 down the stretch. Haney scored seven points in the final five minutes, while Pitts-Young scored seven of his 13.
Southern Maine returns to action on Wednesday (7:30 p.m.) at home and will host Little East Conference opponent Plymouth State University.