The University of Maine men’s basketball team wasted a dominant defensive performance in the first half with a lackluster showing in the second and lost to Quinnipiac 85-75 Sunday at Cross Insurance Arena.

“The story of the game was the second half,” said Maine Coach Bob Walsh. “You give up 60 percent shooting, you give up 57 points in the second, you’ve got no business talking about winning. I’m just really disappointed in our team – in myself and in our group.”

Maine led 36-28 at the end of the first half, riding 20 points from its bench before the break. Junior guard Wes Myers led the way off the bench, scoring 10 points of his game-high 21 points in the first half.

The Black Bears limited the Bobcats to 34.4 percent shooting in the first half. Even with the impressive start, Maine missed opportunities to take a bigger lead, surrendering 11 offensive rebounds in the half. Abdulai Bundu (12 points, nine rebounds) wreaked the most havoc on the glass for the Bobcats, snagging five offensive rebounds – which resulted in all seven of his first-half points.

In total, Quinnipiac – which held a significant size advantage in the front court – won the battle on the glass, 43-29.

“It wasn’t really them being bigger than us,” said Maine freshman Andrew Fleming. “We work on rebounding every day in practice, and we want to be competitive and show toughness on the boards and we just didn’t do that today.”

Senior forward Marko Pirovic also provided a spark off the bench – and he did it on both ends of the floor. After running a trap zone defense for the first 15 minutes, the Black Bears switched to a full-court press as the Bobcats started to claw back.

On the first possession after the switch, Pirovic stepped into a passing lane and came away with a steal near half court. The 6-foot-7 forward flashed some impressive ball handling skills driving toward the hoop and making a layup after using a Eurostep to beat the lone defender in front of him.

Two possessions later, the senior slid out of the paint and unleashed a catch-and-shoot 3.

The only starter to score in double figures for Maine was Fleming – a freshman who starred at Oxford Hills. Fleming finished with 11 points, eight rebounds, three assists and two blocks.

Quinnipiac took its first lead just over four minutes into the second on a 3-pointer by Daniel Harris.

Chaise Daniels finished with 17 points and nine rebounds, while Mike Dixon finished with 16 points for Quinnipiac.

The game started to slip away from Maine midway through the second half, but Ilker Er knocked down 3s on back-to-back possessions to cut the Black Bears deficit to just two, 61-59, with 8:40 left. From there the Bobcats came to life again, stretching their lead into double digits and led by as many as 13 down the stretch.

“The competitive edge we had in the first was really good,” said Walsh. “We fought and fought and fought. In the second half they controlled the edge of the game and we couldn’t match it or catch up to it. They did what they wanted to offensively. They just went really hard when they were in transition, when they attacked off the dribble, when they went to the offensive glass – there was just a different compete edge to them.”