DURHAM, N.H. - The University of Maine defeated the University of New Hampshire, 67-53, during men's basketball action Thursday evening at Lundholm Gymnasium. The loss ended New Hampshire's four-win streak. The win was Maine's second in the America East as it improved to 7-10 overall.
Ernest Turner was 5-for-9 from the field and shot 3 of 4 behind the perimeter to lead the Black Bears in scoring with 17 points. Maine jumped out to a 9-0 lead to begin the game. Tyrece Gibbs (Brockton, Mass.) scored the first Wildcat basket, a jumper in front of the net, at 16:59. Maine twice led by as many as 10 points in the first half.
The New Hampshire offense began to emerge with less than 12 minutes in the half. Brandon Odom (Dorchester, Mass.) sank two free throws at 11:27 after a foul was called on Freddy Petkus, cutting the Black Bear advantage to 22-17. At 7:52, Blagoj Janev (Sydney, Australia) converted a 3-pointer from the left wing and the Wildcats were closing in as Maine's lead was slimmed down to 26-25. The Black Bears held on with help from Turner, who scored Maine's final three baskets of the half. Maine led 33-29 at the end of the half.
In the second half, Chris Vetrano (Andover, Mass.) banked a 3-pointer from the right side to pull New Hampshire within four points (38-34). Jon Sheets sank a trey from the right side that began a 9-2 Black Bear run at 18:07. During the run, Turner converted two free throws after a technical was called on New Hampshire head coach Bill Herrion at 15:33. Vetrano scored a lay up from the left post at 14:30 and New Hampshire trailed 47-38. Sheets converted another 3-pointer from the right side that started a 9-0 run at 13:14. Maine maintained a double-digit lead for the remainder of the game and led by as many as 18 points with 6:18 remaining in the game.
Maine finished shooting 50 percent from the field with 27 of its points coming from behind the arc. Sheets finished with 13 points and teammate Phil Tchekane Bofia contributed with 11 points for Maine. Janev was 2-for-8 from the field and a perfect 8-for-8 at the charity stripe to lead the Wildcats with 13 points. Odom converted three shots behind the arc and two free throws to finish with 11 points for New Hampshire.
New Hampshire (6-12, 3-4 America East) travels to University at Albany on January 22 to face the Great Danes at 2 p.m. The Wildcats return to Durham January 28 to host the University of Vermont at 4 p.m. and ticket information is available at www.unhwildcats.com/tickets.