ORONO, Maine – Justin Edwards' (Whitby, Ontario) layup with 55 seconds left broke the tie and Gerald McLemore (San Diego, Calif.) hit two key free throws as the University of Maine men's basketball team defeated Eastern Illinois on Wednesday night. Maine is now 5-4 while Eastern Illinois fell to 6-5.
Maine got off to a 10-7 lead, courtesy of a thunderous two-handed dunk and layup by Edwards.
The Panthers tied the game at 15 before another Edwards dunk spurred a 7-to-nothing run for the Black Bears.
Eastern Illinois responded with a run of its own to close out the first half, taking a 29-23 lead into intermission.
Edwards led Maine with 10 points and four rebounds while Alasdair Fraser (Falkirk, Scotland) had six points, five rebounds and two blocks.
McLemore's layup three minutes into the second half cut the lead to 31-27, but the Panthers scored the next five to take a nine point lead.
With the Panthers up 38-29, Maine responded as McLemore scored eight points and a Fraser dunk put Maine on top 41-40 with 11:33 to play.
The teams tied at 43 before a pair of buckets by the Panthers gave them a four-point lead.
Fraser led Maine back with a dunk but the Panthers pushed the lead to 54-49 with 5:37 left.
McLemore led the black Bear comeback with a pair of free throws before Raheem Singleton (Boston, Mass.) made a tough layup to cut the lead to one.
The Panthers tacked on a pair of free throws, but Fraser answered with a layup. He sank a free throw with just over two minutes left to tie the game at 56.
Jeremy Granger gave the Panthers the lead with a layup, but a bucket by Mike Allison (Lynden, Ontario) and Edwards' layup gave Maine a two-point edge. Fraser grabbed a defensive rebound and got fouled before making 1-of-2 free throws.
Granger answered before McLemore got fouled and calmly sank a pair from the charity stripe to give Maine a three-point lead. The Panthers could not convert, and Allison sank a free throw to seal the win.
Fraser finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds while McLemore had 21 points and 11 rebounds and was Maine's America East Player of the Game.