Oregon Tech took better care of the basketball, received some solid help from the bench and came-from-behind in the second half to overcome the University of Maine Fort Kent, 89-82, Tuesday in a nonleague men’s college basketball game.
The Hustlin’ Owls had abysmal first-half moments, led just twice in the opening 20 minutes and found themselves behind at the intermission, 47-36.
There were just under nine minutes to play when Seth Erickson hit a pair of free throws to give OIT a 72-71 second-half lead before the Owls pulled away to hand the Bengal their third loss in four games in a Pacific Northwest road trip.
“We have to get better,” OIT coach Justin Parnell said. “Our defense hasn’t figured everything out yet. We’re not upset with tonight’s performance. A win’s a win.”
For much of the game, a smaller than usual crowd had plenty to be concerned about.
UMFK made 6-of-10 three-point baskets, and was 11-of-14 at the free-throw line as the Bengals took their first half lead, with their biggest advantage of the half coming on Anthony Knight’s three-point basket.
“It was all on our end,” Erickson said. “We’re still figuring out our game, but we had better intensity in the second half.”
The Owls did start the second half a little sluggish.
That is when the bench play lifted OIT to its second win in two outings this season.
“Dru (Solis) made a couple of big layups, and we started to shoot better from the outside,” Erickson, who was 6-of-11 from three-point range and led Tech with 25 points, said.
“I have never come off the bench before, so I am trying to find my role,” Solis, who transferred to OIT from Contra Costra Community College who had six points and six rebounds Tuesday, said. “I want to become a hustle-type player.”
Garret Albrecht also was solid off the bench with five points and eight rebounds.
“In the second half they weren’t blocking out as much so we were getting some rebounds and getting second-chance points,” Solis said.
■ There were six ties (the last at 71) and seven lead changes in Tuesday’s game.
■ Tech’s first lead in the game came off a Jalen Carvalho jump shot in the lane with 11 ½ minutes left in the first half.
■ UMFK’s biggest lead was 49-36 when Knight scored the first basket of the second half. Knight claimed game scoring honors with 30 points. Travis Harlin, Johnathon Caldwell and Thomas Enerva also scored in double figures for the Bengals.
■ Enerva led all rebounders with 10.
■ A pair of Erickson free throws gave OIT it biggest lead, 77-73, before the Hustlin’ Owls would eventually take a pair of nine-point leads late in the game.
■ Mitchell Fink scored 21 points, and Tyler Hieb 15, for Tech. Albrecht led OIT rebounders with eight, and Fink had seven assists.
■ OIT had 11 of its 14 turnovers in the first half. In the second half, Tech had 11 assists,and 19 for the game.
■ Tech outscored UMFK in second-chance points (19-14) and off the bench (18-13), but the visitor’s had an 18-17 edge in points off turnovers.
■ OIT plays Menlo College Friday and William Jessup Saturday in the Bill Holtz Warrior Classic this weekend, and hosts New Hope Christian at 7:30 p.m. next Wednesday.