Maine Men’s Basketball Completes Season Sweep of New Hampshire in Season Finale, 73-69
BANGOR, Maine – The Maine men's basketball team ended the campaign on high note on Sunday, completing the season sweep of rival New Hampshire in the final game of the regular season, 73-69, at the Cross Insurance Center. This is the second time in three seasons the Black Bears have completed the sweep and helps them improve to 6-22 overall and 4-12 in the conference, while UNH drops to 6-23 and 4-12 in America East play.
Sophomore Till Gloger was once again Maine's most noticeable presence in the game as he registered 15 points and a career-high 14 rebounds in the victory. His effort on Sunday marked the sixth-straight game in which the forward recorded double-figure points.
Troy Reid-Knight nearly made it two Black Bears who recorded double-doubles, as he was one assist short of the feat. Reid-Knight scored 15 points and nine assists tying his career-best in points and topping his career-best in assists which was formerly six.
Two other Black Bears reached double-figure points as Shaun Lawton scored 12 points and recorded a season-high six steals in the victory, while Xavier Pollard made it 12-straight games where he reached the double-figure plateau.
For UNH it was America East Fans Choice nominee Jordon Bronner who paced the Wildcats offense, scoring 24 points in the loss. Chris Pelcher and Jaleen Smith both chipped in 12 while Tommy McDonnell led the squad in rebounds with 12.
Maine outrebounded UNH 73-69 while also tallied fewer turnovers, only giving it away 12 times to the Wildcats' 18.
New Hampshire jumped out of the gate early in this contest streaking to a 13-2 lead six minutes into the game, as Pelcher, Bronner and McDonnell all got on the board.
The Black Bears kept fighting getting the score down to 17-13, capped by a three-point play by Marko Pirovic after he laid in a bucket, got fouled and hit the ensuing free throw.
It looked like the Black Bears were poised to take the lead as the squad whittled the advantage down to just one at the 4:26 mark, as Kilian Cato drained a trey to make it 34-33. The Wildcats answered right back however, with an 11-2 run in the final four minutes of the contest to take a 45-35 lead into the break.
The Black Bears struggled from the field in the first frame hitting only 8-of-26 for a 30 percent mark, while New Hampshire shot nearly 50 percent hitting 15-of-31 for 48 percent.
The Wildcats also won the battle of the boards in the first half coming down with 20 rebounds to Maine's 17.
A pair of buckets in the opening two minutes of the second half pushed the Wildcat lead to 12, but Maine's offense didn't relent as the squad went on an 19-8 run that cut the lead down to one with 10:02 left in the game.
When it looked like Maine had the momentum to take the lead Smith and McDonnell got the lead back to four with a 3-pointer and a free throw, respectively, to make it 60-56, UNH.
It wasn't until the 3:32 mark of the second half that Maine got its first lead of the game when Pirovic dashed into the paint laid in bucket, was fouled and completed his second three-point play of the day to give Maine a slim 66-65 lead.
The two teams traded points but Maine got the lead to four following a Lawton layup at the 1:36 mark to make it 71-67.
The pressure was on in the final 30 seconds as UNH had possession coming out of a timeout down by only two points. The Wildcats passed the ball around and got the clock down to 16 seconds when a Bronner trey attempt clanked off the rim and found the way into the hands of Gloger who was fouled on the play. Gloger then hit both of his free throw chances following the foul and sealed the game for the Black Bears as UNH was unable to manufacture the comeback the rest of the way and prevailed 73-69.
The Black Bears now enter the conference tournament as the No. 7 seed and will play the No. 2 seeded Stony Brook on Saturday, March 8. That game is scheduled for 6 p.m. The tournament is hosted by the University of Albany and will be played at SEFCU Arena. For full seeding and tournament information visit AmericaEast.com