BANGOR, Maine – Freshman Garet Beal set a new career-high in points, as he posted an impressive second half, but it wasn't enough as the Hartford Hawks downed the Maine men's basketball team, 91-79 at the Cross Insurance Center, Wednesday night. The loss drops Maine to 5-19 and 3-9 in conference meanwhile Hartford improved to 12-14 and 6-5 in America East play.
Beal scored 16 second-half points after tallying two in the first frame, shooting 4-of-6 in the second half. Beal played in just two minutes in the opening stanza but the first-year player took control in the contest, playing nearly the entire second half.
Beal finished the day with 18 points, five rebounds and two assists. The Beal's Island native paced the Black Bears offense while Zarko Valjarevic chipped in 16 points with Xavier Pollard and Till Gloger adding 12 apiece.
As a team the Black Bears shot over 50 percent, recording a 52-percent mark from the field and outrebounded Hartford 31-23. However turnovers and allowing long-range baskets plagued the Black Bears, turning it over 18 times for the game while allowing the Hawks to shoot 54 percent from beyond the arc.
Two players paced the Hawks as Evan Cooper and Taylor Dyson both had 16 points. Hartford had three other players register double-figure points as Mark Nwakamma had 15, Wes Cole had 12 and Nate Sikma poured in 10.
In the first four minutes the Black Bears got out to a three point lead, 7-4, sparked by a pair of jumpers by Gloger. The teams traded baskets before a trey by Dyson sparked a 20-11 run for the Hawks as they headed to halftime up, 42-29.
Sikma ended the half leading the way with 10 points for Hartford while Gloger's seven points paced Maine's offense.
Maine shot 47 percent for the first half while Hartford managed 53 percent from the field.
A trey by Valjarevic at the 18:15 mark of the second half got the lead to 11, but back-to-back 3-pointers by Dyson, minutes later, gave Hartford its largest lead to that point, opening the advantage to 16, 55-39.
Hartford kept the offense coming getting the lead to 20 at the 10:26 mark as Cole hit another long-range bucket to make it 66-46.
Cooper gave the Hawks their largest lead of the game just one minute later, hitting one of Hartford's 13 treys to make it 69-46 with 9:05 remaining.
The Black Bears posted a late surge as the squad went on a 28-15 run pushing the deficit to 84-74, as the team attempted the comeback, but that's as close as Maine got as Hartford closed the game out to the tune of 91-79.
The Black Bears will be back at it on Saturday afternoon as the Black Bears look for revenge against the Great Danes who edged Maine earlier in the year. The Black Bears will play Albany in Albany, N.Y. on Saturday aft