This time, the University of Massachusetts Lowell men’s basketball team left no room for doubt.

The River Hawks, who squandered an 11-point second-half lead before falling to the University of Maine on a late three-point play by Wes Myers in their earlier meeting this season, led from start to finish in the rematch Thursday night while powering past the Black Bears 100-68 in an America East matchup at the Costello Athletic Center in Lowell, Massachusetts.

Coach Pat Duquette’s club outscored UMaine 19-2 over the first four minutes of the second half to build a 30-point lead and cruised the rest of the way to improve its record to 11-16 overall, 5-7 in conference play.

UMaine fell to 6-21, 2-10 in America East, and returns to action at 2 p.m. Sunday at Stony Brook (14-10, 9-2 AE).

“It was just an awful performance on offense and defense right from the jump,” UMaine coach Bob Walsh told Learfield’s Ron Lisnet after the game.

UMass Lowell, the second-highest scoring team in America East entering the game at 77.3 points per game, shot 55.4 percent from the field (36 of 65) and a blistering 59.1 percent (13 of 22) from beyond the 3-point arc.

UMaine shot just 37.7 percent (23 of 61) from the field, 33.3 percent (7 of 21 from beyond the arc while committing 22 turnovers.

Sophomore guard Ryan Jones led UMass Lowell with a career-high 25 points along with seven rebounds and five assists, and backcourt mate Matt Harris scored 23 points, Tyler Livingston scored 14 points, and Jahad Thomas contributed a triple-double of 12 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists to go with four steals.

Myers led UMaine with 11 points, and Austin Howard scored 10.

UMass Lowell capitalized on 14 UMaine turnovers to race out to a 41-28 halftime lead,

The Black Bears went scoreless for nearly four minutes at the start of the contest but were within 7-6 before UMass Lowell went on a 13-0 run good for a 20-6 lead on Cameron Wolter’s inside move with 10:55 left in the half.

UMaine, limited to 3-pointers by Howard and Jaquan McKennon during that span, got a lift from sophomore point guard Ryan Bernstein, who sandwiched two layups around a Marco Pirovic 3-pointer as UMaine went on a 13-2 surge to close within 24-20 on a deep 3-pointer from the right wing by Myers with 6:49 left.

But just as quickly as UMaine established some momentum, UMass Lowell took it away with 12 unanswered points to extend its advantage back to 36-20 on Jones’ 3-pointer with 2:47 to go in the half.

Jones and Tyler Livingston hit back-to-back 3-pointers on UMass Lowell’s first two possessions of the second half to push the River Hawks’ lead to 47-28, prompting a quick timeout by UMaine.

Myers answered for the Black Bears, but 3-pointers by Livingston and Harris and a fast-break dunk by Thomas extended UMass Lowell’s half-opening run to 14-2 and turned the game into a blowout at 55-30 as UMaine called time again with 17:12 to play.

The River Hawks then added five more points to make it 60-30 before Vincent Eze scored UMaine’s first points of the second half with 15:45 remaining.

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Ernie Clark

Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...