BANGOR — The Maine men’s basketball team found out Thursday it wouldn’t have to forfeit a league contest, then went out and essentially did just that against Vermont.
The Black Bears offered no resistance to the Catamounts in an 83-46 loss at the Cross Insurance Center.
Maine came out flat-footed in a 2-3 zone defense, and stood helplessly as Vermont carved it up to the tune of a 38-14 advantage in points in the paint. Meanwhile, the Catamounts were so active in their man-to-man defense that they forced 21 turnovers and limited Maine to 35.6 percent shooting (16 of 45).
Coach Ted Woodward called three timeouts in the first 10 minutes. He changed defenses and personnel. Nothing worked.
“They caused problems for us for 40 minutes,” Woodward said. “We wished we would have made them work a little bit harder for some of their scores, made them work a little harder on the glass, and just were able to come up with some simpler plays on the offensive end that didn’t end up being turnovers.”
Vermont (9-8, 3-0 America East Conference) shot 57.9 percent from the field and outrebounded Maine, 38-20. It was the fifth straight win for the Catamounts, and second by a lopsided score after a 68-38 throttling of Albany.
Maine watched tape of that game but obviously learned nothing. The Black Bears (3-13, 1-3) sifted through a roster of players – 13 in all – looking for someone who could be effective, and finally settled on freshman Garet Beal. The 6-foot-6 wing player from Beals Island responded with a team-high nine points in 14 second-half minutes.
But it wasn’t nearly enough.
“They’re a well-rounded team. They’ve got a lot of good shooters and they’ve got a lot of good size,” Beal said of a Vermont team that has won nine of its past 11 games against Maine.
The Catamounts are beginning a stretch of three games in five days, and were elated to be able to have such an easy time of it at the outset. Coach John Becker was also able to use 13 players, and none of his starters played more than 23 minutes.
“This team right now is locked in better than any team I’ve coached here,” said Becker, in his third season. “Guys are really flying around and playing hard and playing smart, which is hard to do, especially for 40 minutes.”
And if the NCAA’s decision not to punish Maine was worth celebrating, the Black Bears picked a funny way of showing it.
“They dominated us in every phase,” Woodward said. “I was disappointed early in the game and really in a lot of different pockets we weren’t able to keep our execution.”
Mark Emmert can be contacted at 791-6424 or at: