UMA’s Quinn Mitchell II tries to pass around CMCC’s Jack Sylvester, of Greene, during a game on Wednesday at the Augusta Civic Center. (Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal)
AUGUSTA — The University of Maine at Augusta men’s basketball team already proved once this week that it could come back from a large deficit. And it looked like the Moose might be able to pull off the feat again facing Central Maine Community College on Wednesday.
The Mustangs dashed that dream when they started crashing the glass with authority, and CMCC pulled away for a 108-83 victory in a Yankee Small College Conference clash at Augusta Cive Center.
“This is a statistic I don’t think I’ve ever seen in 50 years of basketball: We were out-rebounded 30-4 on the offensive boards,” UMaine-Augusta coach Jim Ford said. “That tells a real tale.”
The Mustangs (5-0, 2-0 YSCC) finished the game with a 69-24 advantage overall on rebounds. Josh Chery led the way with 13, to go along with a game-high 45 points. Chery scored 19 of those points in the second half.
“He’s just a beast inside. He’s relentless, he works hard,” CMCC coach Dave Gonyea said. “I thought he dominated the glass tonight.”
Mustangs guard Corey Davis chipped in with a triple-double, consisting of 10 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. Gonyea said Davis “really had a good game.”
CMCC led by as many as 14 in the first half before settling for a 55-48 advantage at halftime. Akeem Laurie drained a 3-pointer in the first minute of the second half to extend the lead to double-digits again, but the Moose (1-2, 0-2 YSCC) fought back. A 3 from Dustin Simpson-Bragg gave the Moose their first lead since it was 2-0 to make it 69-68 with 11:30 left. Another 3 by Sheveran Hardy to make it 72-71 a minute later was the last time the Moose held the advantage on the scoreboard.
“To be in a game for 30 minutes getting out-rebounded by 45 tells you something else is going right, and what was going right for us was that we actually didn’t turn the ball over. Our guard play is extremely solid,” Ford said.
A layup by Chery started an 11-0 run for the Mustangs that helped put the game away. UMaine-Augusta rallied back from 23 down and win Sunday against College of St. Joseph, but the Moose couldn’t replicate that performance Wednesday.
“About the 30-minute mark I think is when we started to pull away a little bit. I think our depth got to them. I don’t think they’re as deep as we are. Kudos to them because they got a couple players who can really shoot it,” Gonyea said. “A lot of it is, our strategy essentially in the game is to play full-court man, use a lot of guys, wear the opponents down.”
The CMCC bench outscored UMaine-Augusta’s 38-9. Charles Cedre scored all 11 of his points in the second half off the bench for the Mustangs.
“Charles is very emotional, and he can turn it on,” Gonyea said. “He’s the one that really started the run, with a couple of big 3s and a couple of defensive plays.”
Jordan Holmes led the Moose with 22 points, while Hardy was just behind at 21.
CMCC’s Jeremiah Blackwell, top, defends against UMA’s Sheveran Hardy during a game on Wednesday at the Augusta Civic Center. (Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal)UMA’s Justin SImpson-Bragg, of Fairfield, left, and CMCC’s Josh Cherry tip off to start a game Wednesday at the Augusta Civic Center. (Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal)UMA’s Sheveran Hardy, left, tries to get around CMCC’s Freddy Webb during a game on Wednesday at the Augusta Civic Center. (Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal)CMCC’s Corey Davis, top, plays defense on UMA’s Sheveran Hardy during a game on Wednesday at the Augusta Civic Center. (Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal)