AUGUSTA, ME - The University of Maine-Augusta (4-6) men's basketball team is heading to the winter break on a high note after collecting their first home victory of the season by beating the Unity College Rams (3-8) 106-89 Tuesday night at the Augusta Civic Center.
It was expected to be a competitive matchup between two teams with similar records and both coming off of conference wins two days prior, but Moose came out shooting from the opening tip-off, hitting their first four-of-five three-pointers to open a big lead early.
UMA knocked down three consecutive shots from behind the arc giving UMA an early 9-0 lead in the first few minutes of the game, eventually extending the lead to 16 midway through the first half where it remained for most of the game.
The Rams did their best to stem the barrage of three-pointers by slowing the game down but UMA's half-court pressure forced several Unity turnovers allowing the Moose to keep the pedal down.
Israel Brown took advantage of a tired Unity side in the last five minutes of the half by driving to the lane and finishing his lay-up attempt on his way to the free-throw. Brown converted the three-point play extending UMA's lead to 51-34 with 3:14 left.
Quinn Mitchell II continued UMA's outstanding long-range shooting by making a pair three's down the stretch as the team finished with a 63-46 lead and 11-of-22 (.500) from three-point range.
UMA was well on their way to reaching their average of 87.1 points per game as their 63 first-half points were the most the Moose have scored or the Rams have allowed in a single half all season.
Quinn Mitchell II continued the second half where he left off in the first by nailing down a pair of three-pointers in the first two minutes. Mitchell, who came into the game average seven points a game, finished with 35 points (3 steals, 3 assists) due in large part to shooting 8-of-16 from behind the arc.
The high-pressure of the Moose defense resulted in foul trouble early with Unity closing in on the bonus with 14:36 remaining. Despite a timeout by Moose head coach Jim Ford, UMA continued to apply half and full-court pressure, clogging passing lanes, and making it difficult on Rams shooters by closing down space.
It wasn't until the Moose tried slowing down to kill the clock with a 100-75 lead with 7:00 remaining that Unity was able to get a run of consecutive baskets, forcing coach Ford to call another timeout to regroup.
Dustin Simpson-Bragg took over the last ten minutes of the game with his effort on both sides off the ball recording three blocks while pouring in 14 points all while helping the Moose seal a 106-89 victory. Simpson-Bragg finished with 33 points, 12 rebounds, and 5 blocks.
UMA has a month off before returning to action January 6, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. when they take on Berkely-NYC in Concord, New Hampshire at the NHTI Tournament.
Contributed by: Alex Shehata