HARTFORD, Conn. – Junior guard Xavier Pollard had another strong day but it wasn't enough as No. 12/14 Connecticut defeated Maine, 95-68, at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn., on Friday night. Pollard recorded his third career 20-point game, pacing the Black Bears with 20 points as Maine drops to 1-7.
The Black Bears were overpowered by a Connecticut offense that flourished from beyond the arc shooting 56 percent from 3-point land, knocking down 14 treys.
Maine shot 40 percent from the field and was led by Pollard's 20 points. Zarko Valjarevic was the only other Black Bear to reach double-figures as he tallied 13 for the game.
Pollard got Maine on the board as he was a factor on both ends, offense-to-defense, forcing a missed jumper and taking it up court for a hard-fought layup to make the score 5-2, with 18:00 left to go in the half.
Dimitry Akanda-Coronel gave Maine its only lead of the night with a layup in the paint to make it 8-5.
UConn answered right back following a Husky timeout as DeAndre Daniels drained a trey to tie it up at 8-8.
Following a UConn run, Pollard struck again following a Valjarevic errant 3-pointer, as the junior from Bronx, N.Y., intercepted a Husky pass and laid in a bucket cutting the lead to 13-10 Connecticut.
Out of the second media timeout Akanda-Coronel got fans out of their seats, as Shaun Lawton tossed it up to a wide open Akanda-Coronel who slammed it home to make it 13-12.
The Huskies responded again, with back-to-back 3-pointers to put UConn up 19-12.
Connecticut took over midway through the half as it increased its lead to double digits following a 13-5 run to go up 32-17 with 6:56 left in the half.
Another pair of back-to-back 3-pointers by Shabazz Napier and Daniels pushed the lead even further as UConn led 41-22 with just under five minutes remaining.
The Black Bears, down by 19, edged the Huskies by going on a 9-7 run to close out the half down, 54-31.
Pollard led Maine's offensive efforts scoring 15 points in the first half to go along with four rebounds and one assist. Akanda-Coronel missed hitting double-digits as he tallied nine first-frame points.
Daniels who recorded 12 points, led the Huskies, while both Boatright and Omar Calhoun had 10.
UConn, which started the half cold from the field, caught fire towards the end as they finished the half shooting 58 percent. Maine finished the half shooting 40 percent from the floor.
Rebounds were just about even as UConn held a 18-17 advantage at the end of the first.
The Huskies didn't let up in the opening of the second half as they rode an 11-7 run into the under 16:00 media timeout capped by Calhoun trey. 62-38.
UConn kept it up going on an 18-7 run deep into the half to extend that lead to 80-45, with ten minutes remaining.
The Black Bears attempted to fight back closing out the contest on a 23-15 run but the damage was done as the Black Bears fell by a final score of 95-68.
Maine came into the game struggling in the rebound department but the squad did a better job in this contest as they were edged by the Huskies, 38-30.
Black Bears will next be in action for a two-game slate next weekend when Maine hosts Army on Dec. 13 and University of Maine Presque Isle on Dec. 15. Friday's contest will start at 6 p.m. while Sunday's will start at 2 p.m.