Dec. 3—AUBURN — Central Maine Community College pulled away in the second half for a 94-63 Yankee Small College Conference men's basketball victory over Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences on Friday night.
In the first half, the Mustangs (10-1) used the 3-point shot to build a lead. Boston Caldwell got things started with a trey, giving CMCC a 3-2 advantage, and Leavitt graduate Wyatt Hathaway stretched the lead to 8-2.
"We knew they would come out in a zone and pretty much play zone the whole game," Hathaway said. "We worked on shooting this morning; we had a good shootaround this morning. I think it kind of translated and when they came out in the zone, that generally means open 3s. Obviously, we hit our shots."
Caldwell converted another 3-pointer, extending the Mustangs' advantage to 13-4.
Hathaway later splashed back-to-back 3s, giving CMCC a 30-15 lead.
Hathaway said post players Michael Connolly and DeMarco McKissic allowed the 3-point shooters to do their work.
"Thankful to Mike and DeMarco; when a team has to deal with them in the paint, it's easy for us to get the open shots," Hathaway said. "We all did a good job of hitting our shots when we needed to."
Hathaway finished the game 4 for 10 from beyond the arc and Caldwell went 4 for 5.
Mountain Valley graduate Keagan Pitcher dropped in three 3-pointers of his own in the opening half as the Mustangs held a 38-27 advantage after 20 minutes.
The Panthers (1-5) went 0 for 9 behind the arc in the first half. Brett Richards led them with eight points in the half, while Myles Washington scored six points.
Abrahan Pogue made the Panthers' first 3 early in the second half. The Panthers went 3 for 17 for the game.
The Mustangs cooled off from beyond the arc after going 10 for 23 in the first half. They went 3 for 10 in the second half.
Caldwell said CMCC focused on making plays in the second half.
"When they dropped out of the zone in the second half, we were making the extra pass to the big men down low," Caldwell said. "We were moving as a team and that allowed us to score a lot more inside (the paint)."
Connolly scored all eight of his points in the second half for Central Maine. McKissic scored three of his eight points in the final 20 minutes.
Richards had a strong start in the second half, with four points in the first six minutes, as the Panthers closed the deficit to 53-43.
A Nathan Lynes bucket got the Panthers within 55-46. He led the team with 15 points after coming off the bench.
Richards and Levi Thomas each had 12 points and Myles Washington had 10.
Dave Gonyea said the future is bright for the Panthers.
"They are a building program and I have a lot of respect for their coach (Robert Coleman)," Gonyea said. "The kids worked really hard, but this was an opportunity to get a lot of kids into a big game and rest kids, too."
CMCC hosts Vermont Tech on Saturday at 6 p.m.
The Mustangs did a good job of extending the lead back to double digits, building a 70-53 lead with 7:30 remaining in the game.
Hathaway scored eight more points in the second half and finished with 19. Caldwell led the Mustangs with 21.
Gonyea said the bench players had solid games when they got into the game.
"I thought Kenray Emdamerho played well," Gonyea said. "Three of our best defensive players are on the bench all the time: Donovan (Jackson), the other is Kenray and Jeremiah Simeon is the third."
Jackson, a Lewiston grad, had five points and two steals, Emdamerho had four points and three rebounds, and Simeon had six points, three assists, and two rebounds.
Jay Wright settled in a booth at the restaurant across the street from the basketball gym he called home for two decades and the cheerful waitress quizzed him at lunch if he had dined here before. “I worked at the university for a long time,” Wright said, with just a tinge of modesty. Could it be, Jay Wright, the Hall of Fame coach who built Villanova from sleepy Big East school into a national power and won two national championships before he shocked the sport in April and retired at 60 after one last Final Four, forgotten already?
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