A challenging start to the season continued for men’s basketball (2-8) Sunday afternoon as they fell on the road to the University of Maine (6-4).
One promising sign: Bruno outscored Maine’s Black Bears 26 to 23 in the second half — but Brown was still unable to overcome a lopsided first half, leading to the team’s third straight loss.
Brown came out sluggish, missing jumpers in the key, spilling costly turnovers and allowing Maine to run their offense far too comfortably. Maine capitalized on the Bears’ lackluster start, feeding the ball down for a few layups and coming out to a 8-2 lead after roughly three minutes. Brown picked up the pace, however, with offensive power from Kino Lilly Jr ’25, Nana Owusu-Anane ’25 and Kalu Anya ’26, whose buckets brought the score to 11-11.
Just as the Bears seemed to heat up, Maine’s offense got hotter. Maine’s point guard Jaden Clayton grabbed defensive rebounds at will, knocked down three-pointers and maneuvered through Brown’s defense to hit mid-range jumpers and pushing the ball in transition to finish layups Clayton created for himself and others, increasing Brown’s deficit to 15 and forcing Brown’s Head Coach Mike Martin ’04 to call timeout with four minutes left in the half.
With the timeout, Brown made key substitutions and halted Maine’s run. Shortly after, Brown got back on their feet, as Felix Kloman ’24 immediately drained a three-pointer and Aaron Cooley ’25 followed with a strong layup.
But despite halting Maine’s potent run, the Bears found themselves down 37-23 at the half. Shooting was the glaring difference between the two teams at that point, as Maine finished the half shooting an uncanny 66% from the field and 62% from three-point range, compared to 34% from the field and 22% from three-point range for Bruno.
Brown began the second half with far more energy and intensity, forcing turnovers, creating second-chance opportunities and driving aggressively to the basket. This intense effort proved to be effective for Brown, as a series of buckets from Lilly Jr. and Cooley cut the Maine lead to just six, as the Bears trailed 39-33 with 13:45 left, forcing Maine to call a timeout.
Even after, Brown’s unyielding fight showed no signs of slowing down. The Bears continued to apply defensive pressure and relentlessly crash the glass, grabbing any rebounds in sight. Offensively, Brown remained aggressive, feeding the ball to the post and earning trips to the free throw line, where Malachi Ndur ’24, Owusu-Anane and Lilly Jr. all went 2-2 down the stretch, narrowing Maine’s lead to 49-47 and forcing Maine to call another timeout with 5:00 left.
This time, though, a Maine timeout seemingly quelled the Bears’ success. Maine returned to the court with the intensity they had in the first half, knocking down open jumpers, finishing tough layups around the basket and getting to the free-throw line, which resulted in an 11-2 run in the last five minutes, essentially ending the game — and any hope for Bruno.
“Despite not playing our best and digging ourselves a hole early, we still found ourselves down by 2 with the ball and 4 minutes to go,” Martin said in a statement to The Herald. “It was another game where we were in that situation at the 4-minute mark," he wrote.
“Our 2nd half defense, rebounding and overall play was very good. We outscored Maine 24-12 over the first 16 minutes of the half to put ourselves in position, despite not shooting the ball well from inside or outside. We’ll continue to improve offensively,” he added.
The Bears will have to shake off Sunday’s loss for a run against challenging opponents in the Ocean State. Wednesday, they’ll head to Kingston to play the University of Rhode Island Rams, who are undefeated at home. Sunday, they’ll go downtown to Amica Mutual Pavillion to face Providence College, a No. 11 seed in the NCAA tournament last year and a No. 4 seed two years before.
Cooper Herman is a senior staff writer covering sports and arts & culture. He is a freshman from Alexandria, Virginia studying Economics and International and Public Affairs.