ORONO, MAINE – University of New Hampshire (4-10, 1-1 AE) junior forward Mike Christensen (Reston, Va.) posted a career-high 28 points with six rebounds to lift the Wildcats past the University of Maine (5-9, 0-2 AE),73-68, in America East action on Saturday played at Alfond Arena.
Christensen was named America East Player of the Game for his efforts on the court. The Wildcats haven’t defeated their rivals since January 7, 2003 and the victory snapped an eight game losing streak against the Black Bears.
The resilient Wildcats opened the second half with a 9-0 run after trailing by a margin of 35-30 at halftime. Senior co-captain Jermaine Anderson (Beverly, Mass.) orchestrated the Wildcat comeback with 16 second half points as he shot 3-of-7 from beyond the arc and made six of those points at the foul line.
UNH held a comfortable 55-43 with 10:28 remaining, but Maine’s Kevin Reed and Chris Bruff pulled the Black Bears within two (55-53) with 6:33 remaining as the duo notched 21 second half points. The Wildcats regained its composure when senior co-captain Blagoj Janev (Sydney, Australia) delivered a three-pointer with 2:30 left to push the lead back to seven at 63-56. Janev notched his eleventh double-digit game en route to posting 17 points on the night. UNH was outrebounded by a margin of 38-25, but shot an impressive 21-of-28 (75.0%) from the charity stripe, including a clutch performance at the foul line in the second half, shooting 15-of-19 (78.9%), while the defense caused 12 Black Bear turnovers as UNH recorded its first victory in conference play.
The Wildcats struggled early, trailing the Black Bears by a score of 14-5 in the opening minutes of action, but Christensen and Janev staged a UNH comeback with 24 combined points in the first half.
UNH sophomore guard Tyrece Gibbs (Brockton, Mass.) and freshman forward Seth Price (Grove, City, Ohio) each posted five points apiece in the win. UNH shot 46.7% on the night, shooting 21-of-45 from the field. The Wildcats also posted a season-high 43 points in the second half of play.
Maine’s Kevin Reed was also named America East Player of the Game as the senior posted 23 points and nine rebounds in the loss.
UNH returns home after completing a season long eight game road trip. The Wildcats host the University of Vermont on Tuesday (Jan. 9) at Lundholm Gymnasium. The tip-off is set for 7:00 p.m.