BOSTON, MA - The fifth-seed Maine Black Bears defeated fourth-seeded New Hampshire 54-48 in the quarterfinals of the America East Championship at Matthews Arena on Saturday night.
Maine will play top-seed Vermont on Sunday at 2:30 in the semifinals. The Black Bears and Catamounts split a pair of regular season meetings, with each team winning on its home court. Boston University and Hartford will play in the other semifinal, to be played at 12 p.m. on Sunday.
Maine improves to 11-17 while UNH finishes its season with an 11-17 mark. The Black Bears used a 14-2 run in the second half to turn a 37-28 deficit into a 42-39 advantage. Derrick Jackson (Columbia, SC) hit a three-pointer with 6:00 remaining to tie the game 39-39 and then Fredd Petkus (Plunge, Lithuania) knocked down another trey to give Maine a 42-39 lead, its first lead since the end of the first half. The Black Bears would remain ahead for the remainder of the game.
Clayton Brown (Palmura, NJ) led Maine with 13 points to go with seven rebounds. Justin Rowe (Springfield, MA) added 12 points and seven boards and Errick Greene (Kileen, TX) had nine points and nine boards. For New Hampshire, Austin Ganly (North Yarmouth, ME) had 13 points, 11 in the second half and Roland Williams (Niceville, FL) chipped in 10.
Trailing by three points, 49-46, UNH had a couple of chances to get closer. Williams missed a three-point attempt and then Jeff Senulis (Grand Island, NY) missed a shot from in close with 40 seconds left. Jackson then made a pair of free throws for a 51-46 Maine bulge. Following a missed three by Senulis, Ricky White (Topsham, ME) made one of two free throws. UNH's Chris Brown (Boston, MA) then made a layup and got fouled. But he missed the ensuing free throw and Maine's White and Greene each made one of two from the line for the final 54-48 margin.
Neither team shot well in the first half, that ended with the Black Bears ahead 18-16. In the opening half, Maine shot 6-21 (28.6) while UNH was 7-28 (25.0). For the game, the Black Bears shot 39.1 percent while New Hampshire shot just 32.1 .