Akanda-Coronel Leads Maine to 88-79 Win Over Laval
ORONO, Maine – The University of Maine men's basketball team used four double-figure scoring efforts, led by Dimitry Akanda-Coronel's (Boston, Mass.) 22-point effort, to defeat Laval University 88-79 in exhibition action Friday evening at Memorial Gym.
Maine and Laval engaged in a close knit, back and forth first half. Akanda-Coronel (Boston, Mass.) helped the Black Bears jump out of the gate, starting an early 5-0 run with a three from the right wing. A block from Marko Pirovic (Bolton, Ontario) on the defensive side led to a layup from Xavier Pollard (Bronx, N.Y.) as Maine gained its largest lead of the half, 17-10.
Laval answered back as it put together a 10-3 run, capped by a steal on its own end from Thibaud Dezutter. A quick lay-in off the turnover from Dezutter gave the Red and Gold a two point edge, 22-20, with 12:08 to play in the half.
Late in the first half with the Black Bears leading by four after a layup from Akanda-Coronel, the Red and Gold staged a 9-4 run, keyed by three point buckets by Karl Demers-Belanger and Nicolas Begin, to take a 37-36 advantage with 3:10 to play in the half.
Pirovic ended the Maine run by knocking down a pair of late free throws as Maine regained its lead, 38-37. More back and forth action ended the half as Erik Nissen came off a pick and roll and received a feed from Pollard for two. The game was tied 40-40 at the half.
Coronel led the Black Bear first half effort as he was a perfect 7-for-7 from the field en route to a 15 point first half. Pollard chipped in nine points, five rebounds and a trio of assists as Maine shot 46.9% from the field in the opening half.
Maine came out on fire in the second half as it opened with a 10-0 run to take a 50-40 lead 2:22 in. Akanda-Coronel started the run with a fast break layup. The Black Bears applied full court pressure on Laval which led to a Pollard fast-break layup. Pollard was fouled on the play and was able to convert the free throw. Another Black Bear steal ended with Garet Beal (Beal's Island, Maine) penetrating the lane and laying the ball up and in. Beal was fouled on the play and cashed in on the free throw. Another pressured steal from Maine led to another Beal lay-in to give Maine a 10-point edge.
The Red and Gold battled back with an 8-0 run, cutting the Maine lead all the way to one after Dezutter hit his fourth three pointer of the game. Maine ended the Laval run when Beal knocked down a three from the left corner.
The Black Bears took the momentum from the Beal make, and used it to run off a 13-0 sprint, capped by a transition three from Valjarevic, to take a 69-55 edge.
Working off more full court pressure, Akanda-Coronel worked a steal which was picked up by Pirovic. Pirovic returned the favor, lobbing a pass to a streaking Akanda-Coronel who finished the play with a fast break dunk as Maine built its lead to 16.
Laval would not go away quietly as it staged a late 8-2 run to cut the Maine lead down to nine. The run would be short lived as the Black Bears answered with a 7-0 run of their own, capped on a fast break dunk from Pollard, to regain a 16-point lead with 2:49 to play.
The Red and Gold kept charging, cutting the Maine lead to nine, but it would run out of time as Maine took the exhibition victory, 88-79.
The Black Bears now ready themselves for their first contest of the regular season when the team travels to Kingston, R.I. to face the Rams of Rhode Island. That contest is slated for Nov. 8, beginning at 7:30 p.m.