ORONO, Maine – Alasdair Fraser (Falkirk, Scotland) just missed a triple-double, Justin Edwards (Whitby, Ontario) scored a game-high 22 points and Zarko Valjarevic (Belgrade, Serbia) made two late free throws to lead the University of Maine men's basketball team to a 71-68 win over defending America East Champion Vermont on Tuesday night at the Alfond Arena. Maine improves to 8-11 overall and 3-3 in America East play while Vermont falls to 12-7 and 5-2 in league play.
After Vermont had gotten within 69-68 with 1:17 left, the Catamounts had a chance to take the lead with 13 seconds left but missed and the ball went out of bounds. The Black Bears inbounded and Valjarevic was fouled. He calmly sank both free throws with 9.6 seconds left and the Catamounts missed their three-point shot on the other end as the Black Bears got the win.
For most of the first half neither team could pull away, but a late 12-to-4 Catamount run had given Vermont a 41-36 lead as it shot an impressive 57.7 percent from the field. However, Fraser had 16 points, four rebounds and four assists as the Black Bears also shot well, going 15-for-29, including 5-for-9 from three-point range.
The Catamounts outscored Maine 9-5 to open the second half and took a 50-41 lead with 14:23 left.
Maine chipped away and got the game within three with 12:10 left on a Till Gloger (Bochum, Germany) layup.
Vermont converted the next two buckets, taking a 54-47 lead with 10 minutes left, but Edwards scored nine points in a 12-to-4 Black Bear run to give Maine a 59-58 lead with 7:53 left.
The teams exchanged baskets and after Vermont tied it at 66 with 5:45 left, a Fraser layup and Edwards free throw gave Maine a 69-66 lead before Vermont converted a layup and Valjarevic iced the game.
Maine shot 46.7 percent from the field while holding Vermont to 43.6 percent. The Black Bears held a 36-30 edge in rebounding.
Fraser finished with 20 points, 10 rebounds and a career-high eight assists to be named Maine's America East Player of the Game. Valjarevic tied his career-high with 13 points and Mike Allison (Lynden, Ontario) added six points and 11 rebounds for Maine.
Clancy Rugg was Vermont's Player of the Game with 21 points and six rebounds.
Maine continues play Saturday at Stony Brook.