BRUNSWICK, Maine – Despite late game heroics from senior Christian McCue (Hampden, Maine/Hampden Academy) and junior Jayvon Pitts-Young (Portland, Maine), the University of Southern Maine Huskies could not overcome a second half deficit and pull off the come-from-behind win in an 84-81 loss to the Bowdoin College Polar Bears Sunday night a Morrill Gymnasium.
The loss is the third straight for Southern Maine which falls to 3-6 overall. The Polar Bears held for their fourth straight win and improve to 6-3.
Tied up at 32-32 at the half, Bowdoin used a decisive 10-0 run early in the second to create some separation from the Huskies. After a McCue jumper made it 35-34 in favor of the Polar Bears, Bowdoin rattled off five consecutive baskets and led 45-34 with 17:20 to play on a jumper from Jack Simonds.
The Polar Bears continued a strong offensive showing in the second half and led their largest margin, 69-52, on a jump shot from Stephen Ferraro with just over six minutes left in regulation. However, the Huskies bounced back and continued to fight to make it a three-possession game 73-64, with a 12-4 run, capped by a three from McCue with 2:47 top play. After squandered possessions from both sides, Bowdoin returned to a double-digit lead, 75-64, with 1:26 to go and the game seemed closed, but USM outscored the Polar Bears 17-9 in the final 90 seconds.
After Bowdoin's Zavier Rucker's layup made it 75-64, USM's McCue scored six straight points on a three, and three free throws to bookend two free throws from Bowdoin's Simond to trail 70-77. A layup from David Reynolds and two more free throws from Simonds made it 81-70 with 41 second to play, before the Huskies rolled off an 11-2 run on a three from senior Grayson Waterman (York, Maine), a quick five points from Pitts-Young on a three and a layup, and another three from McCue made it 83-81 with seven seconds to play. Forced to foul, USM put a Polar Bear on the line, and Hugh O'Neil made one of two for a 84-81 lead with two second to play, and USM's game-tying three pointer missed the mark for the final.
Pitts-Young led all scorers with 30 points, registering his second game with at least 30 points this season. Pitts-Young was 12-for-18 from the field with three rebounds and three assists. McCue had 18 points, while Waterman added 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting, including a 3-for-5 mark from three.
All five of Bowdoin's starters scored in double-figures led by 19 points from Simonds and 10 rebounds for a double-double. O'Neil had 16 points and eight rebounds, while David Reynolds added 15 points. Rucker had 11 points, six rebounds and nine assists, while Stephen Ferraro tossed in 10 points.
Southern Maine is off until December 30. The Huskies will compete in the Trinity Holiday Invitational December 30-31, facing Western New England on Sunday (7:00 p.m.).