FARMINGTON – The University of Maine at Presque Isle men’s basketball team faced a tough task on Friday at the UM-Farmington Hight Tournament, trying to hold down NCAA Div. III powerhouse Elm’s College of Chicopee, Mass. The Owls battled to a 110-44 loss in their first game of the season.
The Blazers bolted out to a 69-16 halftime command, creating a difficult comeback. Elms’ onslaught was spirited by its defense, which forced 43 turnovers. UMPI played a solid second 20 minutes, despite having two of their starters foul out early after halftime.
Dan Gonzalez and Javon Mathis each scored 14 points to lead a balanced Elm’s attack, as 17 different players got into the scoring column. Arsenio Avant also got into double figures with 10 points.
The Owls were led by junior Ray Mitchell of Cleveland, Ohio, who paced his team with 13 points, all coming in the second half of play. Sophomore Ron Spencer of Chicago, Ill. added nine points, while freshman Loren Fawthrop of Amherst, Nova Scotia added eight points and eight rebounds in the loss.
On Saturday, Mitchell was huge for UMPI with a game-high 36 points and 16 rebounds, while Ron Spencer added 20 points. Despite the improved play on the second day of the two-game weekend, the Owls loss, 92-78, to the Nighthawks of Newbury College in the consolation game of the tourney. Loren Fawthrop once again had a solid showing, scoring eight points and grabbing six rebounds for this team.
Kevin Cleveland of Newbury posted a double-double with 28 points and 13 rebounds, while also dealing out seven assists. John Rowley Jr. scored 22 points to help the Nighthawks (1-2), who need to survive a late UMPI rally to earn the win. Newbury led 48-33 at intermission and pushed the advantage to 75-45 with 10:41 left in the contest.
The Owls battled back and knocked the lead down to 86-75 with 2:15 remaining in the game, but Rowley scored six of the game’s final eight points in sealing the win.
Mitchell was unanimously selected to the all-tournament team for his outstanding weekend play.