The University of Maine upset Boston College on the road at the Conte Forum on Monday night in a stunning 69-64 victory as Kellen Tynes led the team with 17 points.
It’s UMaine’s first win against a power conference team since Dec. 21, 2010, when the Black Bears defeated Penn State 74-64.
After the game, head coach Chris Markwood, who was an assistant coach on the Boston College staff last season, said the team executed when it mattered most.
“They showed a lot of grit,” Markwood said. “It comes down to our guys. They executed what we talked about and defensive keys, offensive keys and executed at a high level. When you do that, you win games and fortunately we got a big one tonight.”
Freshman guard Jaden Clayton scored a layup in traffic that gave the Black Bears’ their biggest lead of the game, 58-46, with 8:55 to play.
UMaine proceeded to go 5-5 from the free throw line but didn’t hit another field goal until 4:12 left in the game on a Kristians Feierbergs put-back layup. The rebound and score gave UMaine a 65-60 lead and a much-needed basket to attempt to stave off a charging Eagles team.
Tynes hit a layup with three minutes left to give UMaine a 67-60 lead before Boston College’s Chas Kelley stole a pass and drove for a layup to cut the deficit to 67-62 with 2:35 remaining.
Markwood relied on Tynes, Clayton and Feierbergs because of their toughness and composure in big games.
“When you have [Clayton] and Kellen [Tynes] who can make plays against that type of pressure, it’s huge,” Markwood said. “If you don’t have that, it’s really hard to handle what they’re throwing at you. Kristians [Feierbergs], too. He took the ball out in big situations and it didn’t faze him. That’s one of the strengths of our team. We have strength across the board.”
Makai Ashton-Langford scored two free throws with two minutes left to pull the Eagles within three, 67-64.
With one minute left, UMaine missed a shot but Feierbergs grabbed an offensive rebound. Tynes then drove to the hoop and missed a layup but immediately stole the ball back for the Black Bears with 13 seconds left.
Gedi Juozapaitis was then fouled and hit two free throws to put the Black Bears ahead 69-64 with 12 seconds left and UMaine hung on for the team’s second win of the year.
Boston College falls to 2-1 while UMaine improves to 2-1.
UMaine learned from its start against the University of Nebraska in the season opener and instead of starting the game down 9-0, the Black Bears jumped out to a 9-3 lead over the Eagles to begin the game.
“Any time you’re coming into these power-five games and you can get out to a great start, it gives life to your team and a ton of confidence,” Markwood said.
The Black Bears started hot on the back of Clayton, who in the first four minutes had a block, steal, two assists and a layup.
UMaine and Boston College played evenly to an 18-18 tie with 8:45 remaining in the first half.
Peter Filipovity then scored a four-point play, drilling a three-pointer and sinking the free throw to put UMaine up 22-18. Filipovity hit a layup and spurred an 11-0 run by the Black Bears. Boston College went four minutes without scoring until Makai Ashton-Langford hit a mid-range jumper to stop the bleeding and pull the Eagles within 29-20 with 4:35 remaining.
Ashton-Langford scored six points and had two steals in the first half.
Tynes hit a layup on a nice drive to the hoop to put UMaine ahead 31-20, then hit two free throws later in the half to give UMaine a 34-24 lead with just 38 seconds left in the half.
After shooting 0-6 from the free throw line in the season opener against Nebraska, Tynes bounced back and on Monday shot 5-6 from the line.
The Black Bears had the momentum before Boston College’s Mason Madsen hit a three-pointer with 18 seconds left, followed by a made three from the halfcourt line from Jaeden Zackery as time expired to make it a 34-30 deficit at the half.
Zackery led Boston College with nine points at the half, while Ja’Shonte Wright-McLeish led the way with 10 first-half points.
UMaine bounced back to start the second half in a big way, going on a 7-0 run in just 2:15 of game time thanks to five points from Feierbergs and a layup from Clayton.
Wright-McLeigh hit a layup on the fastbreak to put the Black Bears ahead 47-36 with 14:30 to go in the game, their second time leading by 11 points.
Ashton-Langford helped the Eagles go on a mini run themselves with a mid-range jumper and a layup in transition to cut the deficit to 47-42 with 13 minutes remaining in the game, forcing Markwood to call a timeout.
“Just to stay composed, stay together, they’re going to make a run,” Markwood said of his conversations with the team during timeouts. “The biggest thing for us was continuing to make stops and get rebounds.”
Ashton-Langford scored a game-high 18 points on Monday.
Out of the timeout, Markwood’s Black Bears went on a 7-2 run with Filipovity scoring a layup and foul shot to give UMaine a 54-45 lead with 11:05 to play in the game. The bucket gave Filipovity 16 points on the night.
Markwood said his experience on the Eagles’ staff last season helped on Monday.
“Obviously I have a little more knowledge on what they do and how they run their stuff and it doesn’t hurt to have that knowledge, but you have to execute,” Markwood said. “Our guys executed the game plan that was given to them and they showed a ton of resolve and grit and found a way to win a close game.”