GORHAM — Jayvon Pitts-Young had a nice homecoming in his first game for the University of Southern Maine men’s basketball team.

Young, a former Portland High star, had 20 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists in his debut as the Huskies outran in-state rival University of New England 114-99 in the season opener for both teams.

Young, a 6-foot guard, decided to transfer from American International in Springfield, Massachusetts, for nights like this.

“Absolutely, this was a great game for my first game,” said Pitts-Young, who hit 10 of 12 free throws. “After a long season (5-21) for them last year we are trying to build a better culture for USM basketball, hoping for a better environment. I want to be part of that.

USM has won the last five meetings between the teams – the past three as season openers – and leads the series 42-14.

“This is a rival game, a local game between two teams in Maine who rise to the occasion every time they play,” said Huskies Coach Karl Henrikson.

Christian McCue (Hampden) led USM with 28 points and Grayson Waterman (Berwick) added 26 points and nine rebounds.

McCue’s back-to-back 3-pointers to start the second half erased a 61-55 deficit and sparked a 12-0 run that helped the Huskies take control of the game.

UNE followed a timeout with an Andrew Marcelino free throw and an Avery DeBrito jump shot to cut USM’s lead to 67-64.

Pitts-Young then converted two three-point plays and a layup in a 10-5 spurt to push the lead to eight. It would not go under six the rest of the way.

“We came out flat in the second half,” said UNE Coach Ed Silva. “I am not sure why because we were very excited in the lockerroom. … We have a lot of young guys and maybe the moment was too big.”

The back-and-forth, high-scoring game was no surprise to Henrikson.

“It was our first game, so I expected a lot of ups and downs,” he said. “We finally started to establish ourselves in the second half.”

By often subbing five at a time the Nor’easters were able to stick to their full-court press and up-tempo style. While the strategy led to more uncontested layups for the Huskies than Silva would have liked, it paid off with a 15-2 run to end the first half.

With UNE down 53-46, Ryan Beatty scored five straight points to get things going. Jackson McCoy drained a fast break 3-pointer to tie the game at 55 with 3:01 left. A pull-up jumper in the lane by Beatty with 2:25 remaining gave the Nor’easters their first lead since the opening minute.

Beatty scored on a layup off a USM turnover and finished the scoring in the half when he hit two free throws.

Drew Muniz’s 18 points led five players in double figures for UNE. Alex Kravchuk had 13 and McCoy 12 points, with eight rebounds.