University of Maine’s Jaden Clayton drives the ball down the court by UMaine Augusta’s Zach Maturo in second half action of the men’s basketball game in Orono on Thursday. Clayton was a pivotal player again Sunday when the Black Bears beat Merrimack, 50-47. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

The University of Maine men’s basketball team battled turnovers and an early deficit to Akron, both proving to be far too much for the Black Bears on Monday night as they fell to the Zips 87-55.  

UMaine fell to 6-5 on the season, while Akron moved to 7-4 by winning its fourth game in a row.

Nothing went according to plan for the Black Bears in the first half against Akron on the road at James A. Rhodes stadium on Monday night.

The Zips jumped out to a quick 9-2 run with Xavier Castaneda scoring a quick five points in the middle of the run.

Castaneda, who entered the matchup averaging 18.5 points per game, scored 18 in the first 20 minutes against the Black Bears. The senior guard shot 4-for-5 from the 3-point line and was an important piece to the lead Akron built over the first half.

Kristians Feierbergs came off the bench early for UMaine and scored a floater and back-to-back threes in three minutes to pull UMaine within one, 14-13, with 11 minutes to play. Unfortunately for the Black Bears, that’s the closest they would come within the defending Mid-Atlantic Conference champions.

Feierbergs finished the game with 10 points, as did Tynes to lead the Black Bears.

UMaine turned the ball over 14 times in the first half, some unforced with many travels and even a step out of bounds. The Black Bears finished with 23.

Peter Filipovity scored seven first-half points for the Black Bears, who trailed by as much as 24 points with 1:35 left when Akron’s Trendon Hankerson hit a 3-pointer that gave the Zips a 44-20 lead.

Hankerson was the second-leading scorer in the first 20 minutes, chipping in 11 points.

The Black Bears began the second half with an immediate turnover, then two more before the first media timeout at the 15:42 mark with the Zips leading 52-28.

Akron’s Tavari Johnson hit a banked-in 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down to give the Zips a 57-32 lead with 13 minutes to go. It was the largest lead of the game for Akron to that point and it moved the team’s 3-point shooting percentage to 7-of-14 on the night.

Gedi Juozapaitis drilled his first 3-pointer of the game with 12:10 left in the game with Tynes helping with the assist. The long ball pulled UMaine within 57-37.

Castaneda hit three consecutive threes from the 9:15 mark to 7:05 on the clock, increasing the Zips’ lead to a game-high 29 points. Castaneda hit two free throws with 5:44 left to give the Zips a 78-47 advantage and put his point total on the game to 33, a career high.

Castaneda shot 7-8 from beyond the 3-point arc.

UMaine will face Ohio State on the road on Wednesday, while Akron will face Bradley on Thursday.

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Adam Robinson

Adam Robinson is a native of Auburn, Maine, and graduate of Husson University and Edward Little High School. He enjoys sports, going on runs and video games.