Portland welcomed cross-country opponent University of Maine Black Bears to Chiles Center for the Pilots’ second home contest of the regular season. Portland held control most of the game and pulled away in the end for a 71-62 victory.
The first half was paced by the Pilots, with the guards finding the open passing lanes for their bigs. The main beneficiary of this passing was junior forward Tahirou Diabate, who lead the team with 10 first half points.
“Our bigs worked really hard on their game this summer, they have gained a lot of confidence down there,” Portland Head Coach Terry Porter said. “All in all, Diabate was great tonight, he was effective down in the post and got to his sweet spot and convert some moves,”
Portland also played impressive defense in the paint, limiting Maine to only scoring on 15 of their 25 lay up attempts. However, Portland left shooters open on the three point line that kept Maine in the game late in the first half.
The Pilots played with consistent energy throughout the first half and willed themselves to a 30-27 lead going into the locker room for halftime.
Maine battled Portland throughout the second half, keeping the game within ten points but only taking the lead once. Portland turned to their defensive play to create opportunities on the floor, scoring 12 points off 12 second half turnovers from Maine.
Portland continued to hammer the ball down low as Diabate proved to be a catalyst for offensive production. Diabate ended the game shooting 9-11 from the floor while scoring 18 points. Freshman guard Chase Adams led the team with seven of Portland’s 17 assists.
This game was especially important for Pilot graduate transfer guard Isaiah White, who played the previous two seasons for Maine. White scored four points in addition to three rebounds in the win against his alma mater.
“It was cool, I have mad respect for those guys,” White said. “Coming out with the win is great. I did not play my best game, but its a team sport and I am happy we got the win.”
The Pilots pulled away late to close out the Black Bears to complete their third win of the season. Portland travels downtown to take on cross town rival Portland State University on Wednesday, Nov. 20.
Jamison White is a sports reporter for The Beacon. He can be reached at email@example.com.